Muni Bus Hijacking: Man Hits 10 Vehicles in Mission District

Muni Bus Hijacking: Man Hits 10 Vehicles in Mission District

There was a chaotic scene in San Francisco’s Mission District the night after Thanksgiving. A man assaulted a Muni bus driver before hijacking his bus and joyriding through the district. He crashed into 10 vehicles during the joyride before stopping.

The incident began at around 8 p.m. At the intersection of Mission Street and Cortland Avenue, Rickey Dancy assaulted the driver of an empty bus. Dancy then began heading north, swerving dangerously across multiple lanes of traffic for more than a mile. He hit around ten other vehicles along the way and eventually came to a stop at 19th and Guerrero Streets.

An ambulance at the scene treated the injured driver and one other person for injuries. However, neither wound up needing further medical care. Other officials blocked off the intersection for a while to clean things up. By early Saturday morning, the Mission District was back to normal.

Muni Bus Hijacking Suspect Faces Tons of Charges

San Francisco police arrested Dancy at the scene and are holding him without bond. He faces as many as 17 charges for the incident. Police say that he was under the influence during the spree, so all of his charges include drug charges as well as the usual ones. Those include felony carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon. Of course, he will also be charged with multiple counts of hit-and-run driving, as he caused damage to around ten other vehicles.

Luckily for Dancy, no other people were on the bus at the time of the hijacking. If they had been, then he could have been charged with multiple counts of kidnapping, which would add many years to a potential sentence. As things stand, Dancy will most likely be in prison for a while. However, it could have been a lot worse for him.

So far, police have no motive for the spree.

California Considers Phasing Out Diesel Trucks by 2040

California Considers Phasing Out Diesel Trucks by 2040

Recently, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) brought a proposal to the state assembly for them to consider. Under the Advanced Clean Fleets (ACF) proposal, California would outlaw the sale of new medium-and heavy-duty diesel trucks by 2040. CARB will accept comments on the proposal until the 17th and then will host a public hearing on it on the 27th.

It also includes guidelines for companies to replace their fleets with zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) over time. They would need to begin buying new ZEVs by 2024 and fully convert by sometime in 2042. When paired with the Advanced Clean Trucks rule, which passed in 2020, California should see significantly more ZEVs over the next few years.

Notably, these laws would not affect smaller fleets. Still, trucking industry officials have their concerns, mainly about charging infrastructure and whether the technology is ready or not. CARB apparently believes that their concerns are second to the needs of the state’s air.

Diesel Trucks Pollute California Air

Unsurprisingly, the driving force behind this proposal is climate change. Carb noted in its announcement that the transportation industry causes a disproportionate amount of California’s pollution. Trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles account for as much as a quarter of all smog emissions in the state. With the new rules in place, all of this pollution would fall away.

California Will Also Phase Out Gas-Powered Cars

The plan for diesel trucks comes just weeks after California released a plan to get rid of smaller gas-powered vehicles. According to the plan, Californians will not be able to buy a gas-powered light-duty truck or car by 2035. This rule is also pending public and EPA approval.

This ban only applies to fully gas-powered vehicles. People will still be able to buy hybrids, although they will be a lot less common. Still, these aggressive laws will significantly change the landscape of transportation in California.

Students Ride Public Transit for Free

Students Ride Public Transit for Free

Students around the Bay Area may soon be in for a treat. A new program will be launched that will hand out 50,000 BayPasses that offer unlimited rides on every public transit company in the Bay Area. This includes Caltrain’s Commuter Rail, Muni Buses in San Francisco, BART, and even ferries. Students who are eligible for the pass are students from UC Berkley, San Jose State, San Francisco State University, and Santa Rosa Junior College. Unfortunately, there are approximately 142,000 students enrolled, which means that only about 25% of students will get a pass. This is only a pilot program, and it is the hope that more such programs will come in the future.

The reason for the BayPass pilot program is that the public transportation system is failing the community. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) oversees the dozens of transit companies in the Bay Area. With so many different companies with different jurisdictions, it’s hard for riders to navigate the public transit system. The MTC wants to create a single transit mapping system throughout the entire Bay. The hope is that this pilot program will give them a better idea of how people utilize the transit system as a whole. As of late, the public transit system has become a maze. It’s hard to figure out how riders navigate the system since there are so many companies that keep their own records. There are no current passes that overlap between these companies. The BayPass will be the first of its kind that will work on multiple companies’ lines.

The MTC Wants to Fix the Bay Area’s Public Transit

The pilot program will cost the city $4.5 million from the funding of the MTC. They will reimburse the fair for each rider for the 2 years the program will run. Unfortunately, not all students will have access to the pass. However, all students at Santa Rosa Junior College will have access to the pass. Students at the other colleges will get access through a lottery system. It’s up to the student to enroll in the lottery.

The hope is that after the 2 years this program runs, the MTC will have enough data to figure out what the issue is with public transit in the Bay area. Currently, there are more riders and options in car-friendly Los Angeles than in San Francisco. It’s a big disparity as San Francisco’s public transit was once the lifeforce of the city. MTC wants to revitalize the Bay Area’s public transit to its former glory.

Mayor London Breed Brings In A New Port Commission Official

Mayor London Breed Brings In A New Port Commission Official

Mayor London Breed had made it known that Steven Lee was going to be appointed to the San Francisco Port Commission while also reappointing Gail Gilman and Willie Adams for separate four-year terms. Mr. Lee is swapping out outgoing Port Commission Vice President Doreen Woo Ho. Woo Ho had the pleasure of serving the Port Commission from 2011 to just about 2022. Willie Adams has been the president of the Port Commission, it’s appointed in 2012. Commissioner Gail Gilman had been working there since about 2018.

In a statement, Mayor London Breed expressed how happy she was to have Steven Lee work on the Port Commission while Willie Adams and Gail Gilman continued serving an additional four years. The Port can be home to San Francisco’s most iconic destinations while enacting a significant role in the economy of San Fran.

Mr. Lee has taken decades of training to be hospitable within the entertainment industry. Lee has long-since-owned while operating under many successful restaurants and nightclubs in Chinatown. This has been the case when he moved in the mid-seventies.

While expanding on his commitment to public service, Lee is hoping to more seriously regard the pressing problems that face the San Fran waterfront. Lee has long been an advocate for both the California Music and Culture Association as well as the San Francisco Entertainment Commission. In this case, he’s long been an advocate for entrepreneurs restaurants and nightclubs as well as addressing significant issues that face the industry like alcohol and public safety policies.

What does the San Francisco Port Commission do anyway?

The SFPC is responsible for nearly seven and a half miles of pure blue meets sand. The waterfront, essentially, coasting the San Francisco Bay is their governance. Here, the Port markets, develops and maintains all that goes on, business-wise. Nearly 550 different leases exist upon the SFPC. All sorts of commercial, retail and maritime leases as well as well-known landmarks. Anything from PIER 39 to Fisherman’s Wharf. When you look at the Port Commission, it has about five members, many of whom happen to be appointed by the Mayor while subject to confirmation by the City’s Board of Supervisors. Each of them is appointed for an approximate four-year term.

So you can see why it’d be a big deal for Steven Lee to join the ranks of the SFPC. It all connects to the greater good of the Bay Area’s main waterfront.

AB5 Challenge Rejected by Supreme Court

AB5 Challenge Rejected by Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the controversial California law AB5 last month. The controversial law governs how workers are classified, limiting companies’ ability to classify workers as contractors. In refusing to review the lawsuit against AB5, the Supreme Court essentially codified it into law.

What is AB5?

AB5, or Assembly Bill 5, was originally adopted in 2019. The law makes it more difficult for employers to classify workers as independent contractors. Therefore, AB5 should provide more workplace protections for a large number of workers.

It accomplishes this by more formally establishing the “ABC” test for worker classification. This test provides three conditions that a worker must meet for independent contractor status. The three conditions are:

  • They are free from the control and direction of their hiring company or person;
  • They perform work outside the normal course of business;
  • The work they usually perform is in the same trade as the hiring business.

Legislators drafted AB5 primarily to target companies like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash. These gig economy employers have long classified their workers as independent contractors. Contractors typically have greater freedom within their positions, but also have fewer legal protections. AB5, therefore, was intended to protect these vulnerable workers.

Who led the challenge against AB5?

A broad swath of workers and advocates from various industries pushed against AB5. One of the major groups that opposed AB5 was a group of freelance journalists and photographers. These workers expressed concern that companies would be less likely to hire them because of additional expenses. Although their challenge failed, legislators did adopt some changes that exempted some workers in these fields.

A separate petition filed by a coalition of independent truckers also opposed the law. Owner-operators make up a large part of the trucking industry. This law, they said, would make it especially difficult for such drivers to get contract work. Because most independent truckers work in a business’s usual course of work, the second part of the ABC test will challenge their status. Business owners operating out of the Port of Oakland said that the law would have huge impacts on daily operations.

Monkeypox Found In Bay Area After Health Officials I.D. Isolated Individual

Monkeypox Found In Bay Area After Health Officials I.D. Isolated Individual

Well, call it déjà vu or call it a totally isolated incident, because either way, someone in our beautiful city has contracted a terrible disease. And it’s not COVID-19 either. It’s actually monkeypox. Which in itself is not so much better. You see, monkeypox actually is a rare but fast-spreading upgrade of smallpox that can create a headache, various muscle aches, a fever and eventual exhaustion. It also causes lymph nodes to swell up. Doesn’t that give you the chills? It might if you have monkeypox.

Most noticeably, the rash starts on the face before spreading elsewhere to other parts of the body. The illness itself is usually as long as two weeks to four, but death is relatively rare. As it occurs in one out of every ten individuals, doomed to contract the disease.

So, it’s still pretty serious.

Now, the patient hasn’t quite had any close contacts around them in the infection period but they’re just securing themselves in an undisclosed location, just to prevent an outbreak.

Dr. Susan Philip, a fellow health officer, had this to elaborate: “We want to emphasize that this is not a disease that spreads easily through the air like COVID-19, however we do want people who might have been exposed to watch out for symptoms and to see a medical provider immediately if they develop symptoms for an evaluation.”

So it looks like it’s Monkeypox isn’t as urgent to worry about.

Of course, when someone does contract monkeypox, health officials suggest no nearby contact in activities with that specific recipient. Dr. Philip believes that “while most cases resolve on their own, monkeypox can be serious in rare cases and we want to prevent further spread in the community.” 

Monkeypox, while semi-contagious, isn’t anything new to health officials, however. As it turns out, a Friday analysis on the federal level has indicated that two distinct strains within the United States have been further raising a likelihood that the monkeypox virus has been floating around for a while now.

Ever since COVID-19 has become normalized, the CDC has been making a grander effort of just recognizing infections ahead of time. The findings indicate that the outbreak is totally unlikely to contain well, as according to Dr. Angela Rasmussen. She is a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan. “We don’t really have a good sense of how many cases there are out there.” She sounds scared.

It’s common knowledge by now how to stay safe from a life-altering disease, but just in case you forget…

Wear a tight mask among indoor crowds, try not to share a drink with others, and be aware of your condition before travelling or even having physical contact.

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Corona Virus Brings San Francisco Into Yellow Tier of Impending Surge

Corona Virus Brings San Francisco Into Yellow Tier of Impending Surge

COVID-19 is a serious danger to reckon with. And no area of California knows this better than the North. Specifically, the Bay Area, is more than certain that this new subvariant is going to be a dangerous version of Omicron. This results in the CDC indicate that the Bay Area reached yellow levels of concern.

Of course, the surge started by the third week of April, while also accounting for the daily case count rising above 100. Sure, last weekend the cases peaked in the city, but the jury’s still out if things are going to be just as bad as they were back in the Winter.

This is quite a stretch of where the case count for Omicron was in January, where the cases per day averaged around 2,377.

By April 25th, Corona Virus cases hit about 400 a day, with 300 trickling in for the days afterwards.

There’s still a likelihood that things could get get bad. But there have only been slight up-ticks of hospitalizations. The yellow tier shows “medium” levels of COVID transmission. And the areas besides San Francisco involve Santa Cruz county, Marin county, San Mateo county and Santa Clara county.

The CDC shows that the yellow tier holds about 200 new cases for every 100,000 residents within a span of a week. The amount of daily cases have risen to about 40% since the last week.

Deaths are relatively low in the Bay Area for the timing of the last two months. There’s higher rates of vaccination that stop the cases of Corona Virus from being worse than it already is. Deaths have been somewhat reinventing the norm as the toll of deaths from COVID-19 has recently hit about 1 million as of last Wednesday. Certainly, experts all across the world are noticing that the subvariants of Omicron found in BA.4 and BA.5 are reason enough to be scared. The worst could come from the worst.

Even UCSF has a wild Dr. Bob Wachter that’s getting afraid of the virus. He recommends that people wear N-95 masks against the incoming surge of COVID-19.

For COVID hospitalizations, there are more inpatients coming from the elderly end of the spectrum, more than anything.

If you ask me, COVID-19 is a very scary thing that we can always stay prepared for. But despite that real threat, the corona virus is easy to prepare against. Especially with the vaccinations and the masks being so readily available. This is all the truth you can realize when defending against Corona Virus.

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Supreme Court Fights The Private Attorneys General Act In CA Labor Law

Supreme Court Fights The Private Attorneys General Act In CA Labor Law

California lawmakers have noticed that there are not nearly enough investigators and lawyers to follow all of the violations found in workplace laws. These including minimum wage and overtime. Hence comes in the Private Attorneys General Act. This law allows for workers to sue their employers in the name of the state, by seeking penalties which had usually been the business of a state labor agency. In that it would allow them to properly operate. By which way, this Private Attorneys General Act allows for immediate deputization of workers to enforce labor laws, through private lawsuits.

A SoCal Cruiseline did not like this and challenged the PAGA so hard, the United States Supreme Court heard about it. In June, as a result, the court is trying to decide if workers with job contracts are even allowed to sue their employer, much less bring their case to a courtroom.

Companies have always persuaded against unions. Are they going to put a hit on freethinking enterprisers as well?

In Other Words, What Does This Mean?

Yearly, thousands upon thousands of Californians use this act to their advantage. The data shows however, that plenty claims don’t even get close to resulting in civil penalties. This is evident in an analysis found by the agency. This could be for any amount of rationale. Especially if workers and employers settle before hitting trial.

9 out of 10 times there’s a claim, it usually alleges theft of some sort. Therefore the date is connected to a certain trend of American business, sadly.

When the law won? It usually has been for these type of scenarios. (Data like this was brought to the public by two advocacy groups at the Research division of UCLA.):

  • In December of 2021, video game publisher Riot Games agreed to a $100 million deal to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought in part under the law. The video game maker, which created the popular game League of Legends, will be paying $80 million of the settlement to workers, at least 2,300 of whom are eligible, according to the Washington Post. Under the deal, the company will also increase transparency about pay for job applicants, create 40 full-time positions for qualified applicants who previously worked for the company as contractors, and will have a woman or member of an underrepresented community present on employment panels.
  • In 2019, a claim brought by a Safeway cashier under the law resulted in a $12 million settlement as well as seating for some 30,000 cashiers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • And in 2017, a group of workers for West Coast Tomato Growers brought several claims under the law, including alleged violations of meal and rest break laws, said Cynthia Rice, an attorney for workers in the case and director of litigation, advocacy, and training for California Rural Legal Assistance, which provides free civil legal services to low income people. The resulting settlement required the company to adopt dozens of new policies including informing workers of heat illness regulations, providing them with equipment sufficient to their jobs, bringing in an ergonomic expert to reduce physical hazards to field and packing shed workers, and more.

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Little Russia Businesses Impacted Negatively By Ukraine War

Little Russia Businesses Impacted Negatively By Ukraine War

The conflict occurring in Ukraine is not making matters any easier on San Francisco and their neighborhood of Little Russia. It’s said that this area is feeling an ongoing impact of negative sorts from the invasion on Ukraine, led by President Vladimir Putin. In so many ways, innocent bystanders or restaurant owners are just receiving the short-end of the stick with all the injustice happening.

There’s problems ongoing in the area of Little Russia.

The owner of Europa Plus on Geary Boulevard, Alex Miretsky, is being told to stop selling Russian products to show solidarity with Ukraine. Can you believe that? Then, there are the owners from Georgia running Moscow & Tbilisi Bakery, encountering a similar experience. However, Daniel Korennoi himself, a refugee out of Russia, moved to the Bay Area with the same belief he holds for all refugees.

That business owners who left Europe in search of a safe haven need their space.

Of course, there are businesses that are investing in helping Ukraine rather visibly. Fiorella, for one, is an Italian restaurant that has been giving customers sunflower seeds, every time they dine at one of three restaurants from March 18th to March 25th.

Sunflowers have very strong symbolism for the Ukrainian people. Each seed represents a dollar donation to the Jewish Community Federation’s Ukranian Relief Fund or the World Central Kitchen. In such a case, the “Seeds for the Future” campaign takes its inspiration from Boris Nemchenok. That guy is the Fiorella co-founder who is half Ukrainian.

San Francisco in general is starting to draw up war lines. The question is, where do you align?

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Mayor London Breed Pulls The Plug On Surveillance Oversight Law

Mayor London Breed Pulls The Plug On Surveillance Oversight Law

Well, after much deliberation and thought, Mayor London Breed has been able to pull the harmful ballot initiative that has so many Northern Californians in turmoil. This is the surveillance oversight ordinance. The decision comes after much heated debate from the community as well as a coalition letter signed by beyond 30 San Francisco community and civil rights organizations. This includes the EFF and the Electronic Frontier Alliance members of the Oakland Privacy and Black Movement Law Project.

Mayor London Breed Wants the People To Give You Big Win.

This is increasing realize when police gave more and more power to surveil the public. Such a victory would best benefit the unhoused, immigrants and activists of all sorts.

Breed specifically wanted to allow police unilateral authority to access networks of surveillance cameras that they had previously used, without Board approval, to spy on protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Several members of the Board of Supervisors countered this initiative by offering their own ballot measure, which would have strengthened, rather than undermined, the surveillance oversight ordinance. Now that the mayor has pulled her ballot initiative, the Supervisors have done the same. 

The mayor and the San Francisco Police Department recently used public fears of crime as justification to introduce the proposed ballot initiative, which would have created massive exceptions to the ordinance’s requirement that police get permission from democratically elected Supervisors before using or acquiring any new surveillance technology

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