Tenant proposals and Guardian forum address eviction crisis; Students fight suspensions; Techies to NSA: Stop spying!
Longtime progressive activist Ernestine Weiss sat in the front row during the forum, blasting Colen and his Prop. B as a deceptive land grab and arguing that San Francisco's much ballyhooed rent control law was a loophole-ridden compromise that should be strengthened to prevent rents from jumping to market rate when a master tenant moves out, and to limit rent increases that exceed wage increases (rent can now rise 1.9 percent annually on rent controlled apartment).
"That's baloney that it's rent control!" she told the crowd. (Steven T. Jones)
Students fight suspensions targeting young people of color
Sagging pants, hats worn indoors, or having a really bad day — the list of infractions that can get a student suspended from a San Francisco Unified School District school sounds like the daily life of a teenager. The technical term for it is "willful defiance," and there are so many suspensions made in its name that a student movement has risen up against it.
The punishment is the first step to derailing a child's education, opponents said.
Student activists recognize the familiar path from suspensions to the streets to prisons, and they took to the streets Oct. 22 to push the SFUSD to change its ways. Around 20 or so students and their mentors marched up to City Hall and into the Board of Education to demand a stop of suspensions over willful defiance.
A quarter of all suspensions in SFUSD for the 2011-12 school year were made for "disruption or defiance," according to the California Department of Education. Half of all suspensions in the state were for defiance.
When a student is willfully defiant and suspended, it's seen as a downward spiral as students are pushed out of school and onto the streets, edging that much closer to a life of crime.
"What do we want? COLLEGE! What are we gonna do? WORK HARD!" the students shouted as they marched to the Board of Education's meeting room, on Franklin Street.
They were dressed in graduation gowns of many colors, signs raised high. They smiled and danced and the mood was infectious. One driver drove by, honked and said "Yes, alright!" Assorted passersby of all ethnicities cheered on the group. The students were from 100% College Prep Institute, a Bayview tutoring and mentoring group founded in 1999 aiming to educate students of color in San Francisco. Their battle is a tough one. Though African American students make up only 10 percent of SFUSD students, they accounted for 46 percent of suspensions in 2012, according to SFUSD data. Latinos made up the next largest group, at 30 percent. (Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez)
Techies to NSA: Stop spying on us!