One North County School Managed to Open and (Mostly) Stay Open

For several months, roughly 700 students have shown up to Bear Valley Middle School in Escondido twice a week for in-person learning. As others figure out how to slowly bring students back, schools like Bear Valley offer insight into how it could work.

Publication: Voice of  San Diego

It is a rare sight, especially for a public middle or high school in San Diego.

For several months, roughly 700 students have shown up to Bear Valley Middle School in Escondido twice a week for in-person learning. Half come Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other half, Wednesdays and Fridays.

School days and classrooms look different this year. School administrators check temperatures and screen students for coronavirus symptoms in the morning. Anyone with even a headache or runny nose is sent home. Students must enter campus at three different points, depending on their grade level.

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The state coronavirus funding package passed earlier this month that contained incentives is providing extra reopening motivation for schools, but even that aid is focused on elementary students. Districts with secondary grades, like middle and high school, only have to offer one grade level in-person instruction to qualify for the funds this year, in addition to identified vulnerable student groups like those experiencing homelessness.

During the bill’s hearings, some state legislators expressed concerns secondary students and their parents were being left behind.

“We needed to set a floor that we thought districts could reasonably achieve. … So, we needed something that was aspirational, but also achievable,” said state Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, chair of the Assembly budget committee and vocal critic of schools that have remained closed. “Of course, my preference would be to, you know, open middle schools up and if there is a safe way, to open up high schools. … I think we struck a balance.”

While others are just getting started and still struggling to figure out how to logistically make school reopenings work, districts like Escondido Union will easily qualify for the incentives and keep welcoming kids to school. ...

State Lawmaker Wants To Repeal California's Jaywalking Law, Cites Disproportionate Enforcement Against People of Color

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

The video shows two Orange County sheriff’s deputies wrestling on the sidewalk with a Black man they tried to stop for allegedly jaywalking across a San Clemente street in September. Minutes later, Kurt Andreas Reinhold, a 42-year-old father of two, was shot and killed.

In a cell phone recording of the confrontation, Reinhold can be heard asking, “Where did I jaywalk?”

Assembly Member Phil Ting of San Francisco wants to repeal the law that preceded these violent encounters.

On Thursday, the Democratic lawmaker unveiled AB1238, or the Freedom to Walk Act, which would decriminalize jaywalking across the state.

“Whether it’s someone’s life or the hundreds of dollars in fines, the cost is too much for a relatively minor infraction,” Ting said in a statement. “It’s time to reconsider how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our jaywalking laws really do protect pedestrians.”

Ting Proposes to Eliminate Jaywalking Tickets In California

New Bill Seeks Fairness and Prevents Potentially Escalating Police Stops for Jaywalking

Ting Proposes to Eliminate Jaywalking Tickets In California

Jaywalking is arbitrarily enforced throughout California. When it is cited, tickets are disproportionately given to people of color, and sometimes, these encounters with police turn life-threatening. In an effort to reform this unfair system, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) has introduced AB 1238, The Freedom To Walk Act, which would decriminalize jaywalking.

“Whether it’s someone’s life or the hundreds of dollars in fines, the cost is too much for a relatively minor infraction,” said Ting at a San Francisco press conference. “It’s time to reconsider how we use our law enforcement resources and whether our jaywalking laws really do protect pedestrians.”

AB 1238/The Freedom To Walk Act promotes the fair and equitable use of roadways by:

  • Legalizing crossings, when safe, outside of a crosswalk or against a traffic light
  • Stopping the undue financial burden on low-income violators, as fines can total hundreds of dollars, if not more, because of added fees tacked on by the court, county, city and other jurisdictions
  • Preventing police from using jaywalking as a pretext to stop Black and Brown people, especially since under-resourced neighborhoods often lack adequate crossing infrastructure

“Jaywalking laws do more than turn an ordinary and logical behavior into a crime; they also create opportunities for police to racially profile. A stop for harmless jaywalking can turn into a potentially life-threatening police encounter, especially for Black people, who are disproportionately targeted and suffer the most severe consequences of inequitable law enforcement,” said Jared Sanchez of the California Bicycle Coalition (CalBike), sponsor of AB 1238.

While there are many examples of California cases in which a jaywalking stop has gone wrong, the most recent case occurred in September when San Clemente Police killed Kurt Reinhold. In the Bay Area, Chinedu Okobi was killed more than two years ago in Millbrae by San Mateo County deputies. And in 2017, Nandi Cain was beaten by Sacramento Police. The victims in each of these cases were African American, and video captured each incident.

The numbers behind police stops for jaywalking are just as telling. From 2018-2020, data compiled by the California Racial and Identity Profiling Act (RIPA) shows Black Californians are severely overrepresented when it comes to being stopped for jaywalking, up to four-and-a-half times more than their White counterparts.

Inflection Point: Bay Area Lawmakers, Community Condemn Anti-Asian Hate

Publication: KTVU / FOX 2 San Francisco Bay Area

A handful of Bay Area elected officials and community leaders gathered Monday in San Francisco's Portsmouth Square to denounce the wave of attacks against Asian Americans. 

"We have an epidemic of anti-Asian hate right now," said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco).  

Assemblymembers Ting, David Chiu and state Senator Scott Wiener were joined by Asian community leaders for the news conference calling for an end the violence and urging people to report any incidents. 

"We are coming together, locking arm-in-arm," said Ting. "Saying as a community, not just an AAPI community, but as a California and San Francisco community, we’re saying no to hate."

San Francisco Adds Street Patrols in Asian American Neighborhoods

Publication: KCBS Radio/San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco’s mayor and police chief announced on Wednesday that more street patrols have been dedicated to the city’s Asian American neighborhoods.

The additional patrols come as unprovoked attacks are on the rise in the Bay area and nationwide, including a deadly shooting spree in Atlanta, which has not been ruled out as a hate crime against Asians.

San Francisco’s mayor and police chief announced on Wednesday that more street patrols have been dedicated to the city’s Asian American neighborhoods.

The additional patrols come as unprovoked attacks are on the rise in the Bay area and nationwide, including a deadly shooting spree in Atlanta, which has not been ruled out as a hate crime against Asians.

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State Assemblyman Phil Ting, who helped engineer wording into the State Budget to include $1.4 million to fund Stop AAPI Hate, told KCBS Radio's Jeff Bell and Patti Reising on Wednesday that more than just money is needed.

"These are not isolated incidents," he explained. "This is a systemic issue that we need a systemic solution for."

As far as increased patrols, Ting said properly coding hate crimes is a big step, as is breaking down systemic racism within neighborhoods.

"Police are part of the solution, but it’s really getting our communities together to stand with each other," Ting added. "The police physically can’t be everywhere at any given moment." ...

Ting Joins Bay Area Lawmakers In Calling For More Vaccine Equity

Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) joined Bay Area lawmakers in asking state leaders to reconsider California's vaccine distribution equity plan. While they applaud the effort to set aside eight million doses for low-income communities, only ten zip codes in the Bay Area qualify. Read the full letter here:  Vaccine Equity Letter

 

San Francisco Officials Decry Anti-Asian Violence In Wake Of Fatal Attack

Publication: KPIX 5/CBS San Francisco

Speaking in front of the Hall of Justice, District Attorney Chesa Boudin, along with several Supervisors and Assemblymember Phil Ting came together to denounce crimes against the Asian-American Pacific Islander community.

“This is not a new problem. This is a problem that has existed for decades, that has gotten very little investment and very little attention,” said retired District 1 Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer.

Among the actions, Assemblymember Phil Ting announced $1.4 million in state funding to track crimes against the AAPI community.

“If you don’t have the data, then you think it’s just an isolated incident. And we have one case, we have one court trial, but we really don’t know how prevalent the situation is. Well, now we do,” Ting said.

Ting Leads Effort Calling On DOJ To Reconsider Withholding Gun Violence Data

In advance of the California Department of Justice's hearing on March 11th, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) leads the effort in asking the agency to reconsider its proposal to withhold gun violence data from researchers.

As representatives of the people of California, we rely on the best possible scientific evidence to help us fulfill our duty to serve the public’s interest. We view the draft regulations as obstructing the development of that evidence and hope that the Department will reconsider.

Read the full letter here:  Letter to DOJ on Gun Violence Data

 

In New Plastics Push, California Wants Recycled Content in Thermoformed Packs

Publication: Plastics News

California state legislators unveiled a broad series of plastics packaging proposals March 9, including recycled content for thermoformed containers and phase-outs of film in e-commerce shipping.

Eight lawmakers who nearly passed significant producer responsibility laws last year unveiled their package of 12 bills on March 9, saying they are needed to reduce the impact of single-use packaging. ...

A sponsor of that bill, Assembly member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said it builds on a law passed in 2020 requiring up to 50 percent recycled content for plastic beverage containers. He urged California "to do the same for thermoform food containers, like clamshells."

"We need to redesign products so they can be repurposed, not pollute our environment," Ting said.

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California AG Office Withholding Data On Gun Sales, Restraining Orders From Researchers

Publication: Sacramento Bee

Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office is withholding gun violence data from a state-funded research institution tasked by lawmakers with evaluating California’s firearm regulations and also is directing universities to destroy records the agency previously released.

Researchers at the UC Davis California Firearm Violence Research Center say that over the last several years, the Department of Justice has made it increasingly difficult to access data only it maintains, despite a legal mandate to provide the records.

The Legislature in 2016 passed a law to establish and fund the center, which works alongside an existing gun violence research program at UC Davis. The idea was to support independent research to identify policies that best prevent deaths and injuries caused by gun violence.

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, wrote a measure to confirm the department’s legal responsibility to provide the center and other research institutions with identifying information in their gun ownership-related data.

“There’s no question that it’s not helpful for the Department of Justice to add more restrictive regulations when the Legislature and governor have sent the department a clear signal and mandate that it’s public information,” Ting said. “It’s critical data.”

The department hasn’t taken a position on the bill, but the spokesperson said the agency “notes that the bill acknowledges some of the authorization concerns at issue.”