SAN FRANCISCO: Anti-abortion banners along the route of a planned city walk have been opposed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
According to a report in yesterday's Chronicle, supervisor, David Campos introduced a resolution that would put the board on record as opposing the banners, which San Francisco Mayor, Ed Lee had previously refused to have taken down.
The banners read 'Abortion hurts women'.
Fifty posters carrying the slogan were erected in preparation for the 10th Annual Walk for Life, West Coast, which will take place in the city on January 25. They line the route along San Francisco's main thoroughfare, Market Street.
The banners have provoked a lot of debate regarding a woman's right to an abortion and also whether the walk itself should take place.
On December 31 the Chronicle reported:
"The Silver Ribbon Campaign to Trust Women wrote a letter to Mayor Ed Lee, saying the banners contain 'a false and hateful statement'. They demanded they be removed".
Ellen Shaffer, director of the Silver Ribbon Campaign said she considered the banners 'hate speech against women'. However, Mayor Lee rejected Ms. Shaffer's demand.
But now the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has decided to further stir the argument.
Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle reported:
"Mayor Ed Lee may be staying out of the brouhaha over a series of anti-abortion banners on this liberal city's main thoroughfare, but the Board of Supervisors isn't".
Yesterday a resolution was introduced by Supervisor David Campos that indicated that the board would be opposing the banners message.
The Department of Public Works, which issued permits for the banners say they do not judge content, only whether the banners show profanity or nudity.
The six clauses from the resolution which the Chronicle reproduced were all about content, although Supervisor Campos was also on record as concerned that the banners were posted on what he described as "lamp posts that also display holiday snowflakes".
The Chronicle article concluded:
"While the resolution may have many San Franciscans nodding in agreement, it's seems unlikely that city has any legal right to refuse to post something simply because politicians don't like the message".
Dolores Meehan co-chair of the Walk said: "I'm practically speechless. Interfering with snowflakes. They're so deficient in any sort of statesmanship, it's actually expected. They're ridiculous".
It's not the first time that the city supervisors have meddled with the Walk for Life West Coast.
In 2005, in response to the inaugural walk, the supervisors issued resolution #050019, which declared January 22, 2005 as 'Stand Up For Choice Day', and thus supported demonstrations by the local pro-choice community in San Francisco, which in practice, meant supporting those who attempted to block the Walk for Life West Coast from taking place
Despite the lack of support by the board of supervisors, the Walk for Life West Coast has grown every year, from 7,500 participants in 2005 to an estimated 50,000 last year.
"We are delighted with the publicity our banners have generated. We urge all people of good will to join us on January 25 as we march in defense of the littlest among us," said Walk co-chair, Eva Muntean.
Miss Muntean said opponents were seeking to censor the group's message 'Abortion Hurts Women,' not because it is false but because it is true.
She said she hopes San Franciscans will atend the rally and Walk, and especially the Silent No More Awareness Campaign at 10:45 AM in Civic Center Plaza. This event will showcase real-life stories from post-abortive women.
"Just listen to them and judge for yourselves if what you are hearing is 'hate speech,'" Muntean said.
The 10th Annual Walk for Life West Coast is on Saturday, January 25 at San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza. The Rally begins at 12:30 PM, followed by the Walk at 1:30.
Click 'Read More' To watch videos from the Walk of Life 2014 San Francisco
OAKLAND: An Oakland community initiative aimed at improving young children’s reading skills has been recognized with a top accolade.
The campaign for Grade-Level Reading said that Oakland Reads 2020 was a community pacesetter thanks to its efforts to improve reading proficiency among young children in the city.
"We were impressed and inspired by what Oakland has accomplished so far," said Ralph Smith, the campaign’s managing director.
The campaign is part of a nationwide movement of local leaders, states, nonprofits, and foundations that focus on promotion of grade-level reading of students.
In Oakland, figures suggest that only 42 percent of third grade students read at or above grade level, and the initiative's goal is to have at least 85 percent of students reading successfully by the end of third grade by the year 2020.
"Every child in this city deserves an opportunity to learn to read and write,” said Oakland Mayor, Jean Quan.
"Successful students can reach their dreams, strengthen our local economy, and help us reduce violence in our community,” she added.
The Mayor said that receiving the accolade of Community Pacesetter was an acknowledgement that the city was on the right track regarding children’s literacy.
She said receiving the honor of pacesetter recognizes the collective, city-wide campaign to improve student’s reading proficiency, especially those from low-income families.
Oakland Reads 2020 was launched in June of last year as a collaboration of the City of Oakland, the Oakland Unified School District and nearly 100 public and private organizations. It is supported by a collaborative group of funders that includes the Rogers Family Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the East Bay Community Foundation.
Acknowledging that schools alone cannot address all children’s literacy problems, the communities are working together to ensure that youngsters arrive at kindergarten ready to succeed, attend school regularly and keep learning through the summer months.
Associate Superintendent of Family, Schools and Community Partnerships, Curtiss Sarikley said the collaboration was in line with the Oakland Unified Schools District’s vision for thriving communities.
“Each child is supported to be ready to succeed in college and careers, and lead healthy and happy lives. We are encouraged by the recognition of these valuable partnerships in the city."
The campaign embeds commitment around four key pillars of a child’s reading success. These include Kindergarten readiness; school attendance/chronic absence; summer learning and family engagement.
For more information about the campaign you can visit their website at the following link:
Tell our story
SAN FRANCISCO: Officials from the Los Angeles County Board of Real Estate (LACBOR), have criticized the recent court ruling on lead-based paint producers, saying it will have a knock-on effect.
LACBOR official and LA home owner, Warren J. Rohn, called Tuesday's ruling by Superior Court Judge, James Kleinberg as "draconian" and added that the ruling will have a far-reaching impact on home owners, sellers and real estate professionals, not just in LA but also across the state.
The ruling on Tuesday by Judge Kleinberg will see all pre-1978 dwellings declared as "public nuisances" because their interior surfaces may contain paint that include lead pigments.
The judge ordered that three paint firms should pay the state a total of $1.15 billion to aid the removal of such paints used in houses before it was banned nationwide.
The ruling is expected to affect 2.6 million Los Angeles homes and an estimated 5 million statewide, including homes in San Francisco, San Mateo and Alameda Counties.
Rohn says that that the ruling now threatens to send home values into free-fall, causing a ripple effect caused by a decrease in vital programs supported by property taxes.
The LACBOR official, whose home was built in 1958, fears buyers will shun his and others homes if they puts them on the market due to the "public nuisance" label attached to their dwellings.
LACBOR president, Giuseppe Veneziano said: "This could precipitate the worst plunge in California home values since the housing crash of 2007". Adding: "I can see the ruling having frightening consequences".
The paint companies involved in Tuesday's ruling include ConAgra, NL Industries and Sherwin Williams. They are expected to appeal yesterday's ruling which marked the culmination of 13 years of legal wrangling. Two other co-defendants, Atlantic Richfield Co. and DuPont Co. were relieved of any liability.
The ruling only targets houses constructed pre-1978 becasue that was the year that the use of lead pigments in paint was banned in the United States as exposure to these pigments was deemed dangerous to people's health.
The lawsuit was filed to address public health dangers regarding children's exposure to lead-based paint, despite efforts by paint manufacturers dating back to the 1950s to voluntarily remove lead from interior paints following research that showed it posed a potential health risk.
But Giuseppe Veneziano says that the ruling leaves a host of unanswered and troubling questions about the fate of well-maintained homes with lead paint. He also asked what, if any, actions sellers of homes affected by the ruling, as well as potential home buyers, should now take.
"Imaging the disruption of inspectors fanning out to ascertain traces of lead in pre-1978 structures and then requiring the removal of that lead," he said.
"It will require occupants, possibly blocks at a time, to vacate and relocate until safety is restored to the satisfaction of authorities."
Kleinberg ordered $700 million of the $1.1 billion go toward repairs to poorly maintained properties and that $400 million be used to pay for inspectors to look for evidence of lead paint in pre-1978 homes.
SAN FRANCISCO: Utility company, Pacific Gas and Electricity (PG&E) are asking people to be extra cautious of a recent scam targeting their customers.
PG&E has learned of the scam sent via an email, targeting residents across the United States, including San Francisco.
The online message tries to entice the customer to provide some personal information.
The company says it has received calls from people, both within its service area and outside of it, reporting that they have received suspicious emails that appeared to be utility bills from the company.
This is similar to other email and phone scams that have been happening recently throughout the country involving several utilities.
PG&E Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer, Helen Burt said it was unacceptable that customers were being taken advantage of.
"We take our customers' security very seriously and under no circumstances would we email anyone to request that they provide personal information without first logging into My Energy or calling us."
What should I do?
If you receive one of these emails requesting information about your account, PG&E advise the following precautionary measures:
DELETE THE EMAIL
DO NOT respond to the request
DO NOT click on any links in the email
DO NOT open any attachments
DO NOT provide any personal information
Report these contacts to CorporateSecurity@pge.com
The company says that customers should note that PG&E's credit department will never ask for personal information or a credit card number over the phone. Anyone who has received such a phone call and provided credit card or checking account information should report it immediately to the credit card company or bank and law enforcement.
Customers with any concerns about the legitimacy of a call about a past or due bill, service request or request for personal information are encouraged to call PG&E at 1-800-743-5000.
Customers should always ask to see identification before allowing anyone claiming to be a PG&E representative inside their home. PG&E employees always carry their identification and are willing to show it to you.
If a person claiming to be a PG&E employee has identification and you still feel uncomfortable, call PG&E's customer service line at 1-800-743-5000 to verify an appointment and/or PG&E's presence in the community. If you feel threatened in any way, notify local law enforcement immediately.
Customers who have an appointment with PG&E will receive an automated call back within 48 hours prior to a scheduled visit, or a personal call from a PG&E gas service representative prior to a scheduled visit.
PG&E is investigating the situation along with the appropriate authorities. There has been no security breach and the information referenced in the email message is not legitimate.
SAN FRANCISCO: A strategic advisor on food system reform is urging California's state legislatures to prioritize investment in food and farming systems.
Michael R. Dimock, President of Roots of Change and an advisor to the California Food Policy Council (CAFPC), made the request following the release of a joint report by the two organizations today.
The informative report looks at concerns over food and farm policy voting by state legislatures and highlights the findings to the general public. Its aim is to educate the man on the street about how some policy decisions may be hindering the chance to improve some of California's health, environmental and economic problems.
Mr Dimock called upon elected officials to create a healthier and more resilient food system and said: "Its members want more and better bills generated, more bills supported, and more funding for under-resourced sustainable food production. Weather events, diet related disease, worker safety and opportunity, and agricultural pollution must be addressed".
"The CAFPC believes all parts of the food supply chain, from farm to table, must be engaged," he added.
Although many see food system reform as vitally important, the report noted that only 11 of the 27 bills that they analyzed got as far as the voting floor.
According to Dimock, the CAFPC report aims to stand as both a historical record of CA legislators' food system votes in 2013 and a tool for local food and agriculture reformers in their advocacy efforts.
The Roots of Change program, from the Public Health Institute, spurred the report's development by bringing together many different stakeholders looking to drive food system reform forward in a positive manor for Californians.
Five of CAFPC's highest priority bills were signed by the Governor in the first year of tracking. These included the following
Others, such as CAFPC steering committee member, Brenda Ruiz think that other policies will need to be importantly examined in the future.
Ruiz, a chef, parent and a Sacramento food activist, said that given the importance of food and farming sectors to the health of California's economy and communities, there were many more policies of broader scope and impact that would require the legislature's attention in the new year.
" I am joining others from across the state in asking the CA Legislature to prioritize investment in our food and farming system," she said.
"Even in a state with so much agricultural bounty, and a focus on healthy eating, I still struggle to afford top quality produce for my own family's table.
A total of 19 community organizations and policy experts, representing food and agricultural regions from Humboldt to Oakland to San Diego, have joined together to push for food system reform under the banner of the California Food Policy Council.
Despite California's position as the nation's most important agriculture state and the epicenter for sustainable food trends, no cohesive group of California community organizations and policy experts had ever been successfully created until now.
Roots of Change president and CAFPC advisor, Mr Dimock said that the new report will alert statewide elected officials that a determined new constituency will be asking for their leadership.
ROOTS OF CHANGE
Roots of Change is a 'think tank' organization dedicated to developing a CA food system that is healthy, diverse, profitable and fair.
Since 2000, Michael R. Dimock, President, has grown ROC into a resource for the food movement, creating collaborations between agriculture and NGOs, community organizations and policy experts.
To read the full ROC & CAFPC report go to the following link: REPORT
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