News

Friday, April 2, 2021

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

The list of California gun owners banned from possessing their weapons grew last year to a record size, as the backlog of cases in a state program to seize the firearms surged by 17% during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state Justice Department reported that it was actively trying to remove guns from 9,083 people at the beginning of 2021, an increase of 1,336 over the prior year — though fewer than in 2019, when Gov. Gavin Newsom significantly increased funding for the unique state confiscation program to help clear an enduring backlog.

The failure to get the backlog under control has frustrated both Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento for nearly a decade, and some are now pushing for changes to the program that could shift more of the work to the local level.

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“There’s a lot more efficient ways to do it,” said Assembly Member Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who chairs the budget committee. He has pushed to have the state continue to coordinate the database while moving more of the enforcement to local law enforcement agencies.

“Unfortunately, the attorney general’s office wasn’t really willing to partner with local law enforcement,” Ting said.

Monday, March 29, 2021

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. ...

Thursday, March 25, 2021

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.”

Monday, March 22, 2021

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."

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

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." ...

Thursday, March 11, 2021

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.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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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