The Roundup

Apr 15, 2019

Just getting by

Feeling strapped on a $400,000 income? That’s the Bay Area


From  LEONARDO CASTAÑEDA, Mercury News: "Marvin Chan says he doesn’t live an extravagant life. He lives in Palo Alto, but drives a 2007 Nissan Murano. Family vacations with his wife and two sons are usually camping trips."


"Chan, who grew up in New York, considers himself middle class, but with an estimated household income of more than $400,000 once his wife returns to work — the startup she was at shut down last year — he’s actually upper class by common definitions."


"Yet in the Bay Area, with housing prices and a cost of living far beyond the national average, it’s hard for even high-earners to feel well off."


More new teachers in pipeline, but California falling short in producing fully qualified ones


LOUIS FREEDBERG, EdSource: "Enrollments in teacher preparation programs in California are rising, but the numbers just aren’t high enough to put fully prepared teachers in classrooms to educate all 6 million of the state’s public school students, according to newly released figures."


"At a time of heightened teacher activism in California and nationally, most of the attention has been on working conditions and salaries for existing teachers, as well as support services for students, overshadowing the equally urgent need to prepare the next generation of teachers and to ensure that those entering the classrooms are fully prepared to teach."


"Figures in a report this month to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, the state agency charged with regulating teacher preparation and credentialing, tell a two-sided story."


 What a major earthquake would do to San Francisco


From the Chronicle's KIMBERLY VEKLEROV: "A repeat of the most powerful earthquake in San Francisco’s history would knock out phone communications, leave swaths of the city in the dark, cut off water to neighborhoods and kill up to 7,800 people, according to state and federal projections."


"If a quake like that were to strike along the San Andreas Fault today, building damage would eclipse $98 billion and tens of thousands of residents would become homeless."


"Thursday marks the anniversary of the 1906 quake, a 7.9-magnitude event that turned San Francisco streets into waves, flattening much of the skylineand igniting fires that raged for almost four days. The quake ruptured 296 miles of fault line — from Cape Mendocino to San Juan Bautista."


California's straw law draws attention


From MONET MUSCAT in Capitol Weekly: "When former Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law in September curbing the distribution of plastic straws in dine-in restaurants, it received wide – and largely favorable — attention."


"But to some, there was a surprise: The new law continues to allow fast-food restaurants to use plastic straws. Many people believe that the state should make all eateries use biodegradable straws, especially fast-food restaurants, which are the largest consumers of plastic straws. The new California law bars the use of plastic straws, unless the customer asks for it."


"California’s law, AB 1884 by Assemblymember Ian Calderon, D-Whittier, is the first of its kind in the country and it has drawn attention from other states."


Democrats have a lot riding on California’s tax day revenues


JOHN MYERS, LAT: "It’s long been said that two things are key to successfully governing California: ample Sierra Nevada snow to keep the water flowing and plenty of income tax payments to keep state services running. Problems with either can trip up even the most charismatic politician."


"The wet and snowy winter took water off the worry list for now. As for income tax revenues, this week will help tell the tale — and there are worries under the state Capitol dome. If April receipts miss the mark, it could mean trouble for the agenda of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature’s Democratic supermajority."


"Newsom’s first budget plan as governor, which was unveiled in January, projected the state will collect $19.9 billion in revenues this month — three-quarters of it from personal income taxes that must be filed by Monday night. Taxpayers who favor installment payments have made January and June important months, too, but April remains a key indicator. The governor will use this month’s revenue collection to revise his spending plan in May, a prelude to legislative approval of a fiscal blueprint in June."


‘They don’t like Canadians’: New border obstacle for high-skilled workers


From the Chronicle's MELIA RUSSELL: "Some U.S. border agents have quietly begun refusing to process work visas for Canadians already working in the country, a change that is confounding immigration lawyers and could pose problems for big Silicon Valley employers that frequently move tech workers between Canada and the U.S."


"Canadians seeking to renew documents used for intracompany transfers have until recently applied at airports and border stations staffed by U.S. Customs and Border Protection."


"The border agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is now directing Canadians to file renewals for L-1 visas with a different agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, in a far more cumbersome process, according to an email sent by a border officer in Toronto obtained by The Chronicle."


How CalPERS-sponsored bill increased pensions


ED MENDEL, Calpensions: "The annual payment to CalPERS for state worker pensions next fiscal year is expected to be $7 billion, a jump from $6.4 billion this year — and a quantum leap from $160 million when a pension increase, SB 400, was approved 20 years ago."


"It was 1999 and CalPERS was in its golden years, thanks to a booming stock market. Investment earnings had averaged 13.5 percent for a decade, soaring in the two prior years to 20 percent. Funding for a half dozen state and school plans ranged from 100 to 139 percent."


"Faced with a “surplus,” CalPERS was about to do what California public pension systems have done (see CalSTRS and UC) since voters approved measures allowing a shift in investments from predictable bonds to higher-yielding but riskier and unpredictable stocks."


Homeless surge at SF airport: Police contacts triple, and officials want BART to step in


From MATTHIAS GAFNI, Chronicle: "Authorities at San Francisco International Airport are struggling to deal with rising numbers of homeless people arriving at the International Terminal, many of them seeking shelter in the middle of the night after riding BART trains south from the city."


"It’s the latest expression of the region’s increasingly visible homelessness crisis and represents another challenge for BART, which is dealing with the pending retirement of its general manager and police chief, the complex rollout of a new fleet of trains, and this week declared a state of emergencyover surging crime, rampant fare evasion and “quality of life” issues."


"In the past two years, airport duty managers and San Francisco police officers who patrol SFO have seen official contacts with homeless people triple, according to airport figures obtained through a public records request. There were 1,139 such calls in February, or roughly 40 a day, compared with about a dozen contacts a day in March 2017."


‘Called to the Wall’ religious caravan gathers at border


From JOHN WILKENS in the Union-Tribune: "For the ninth consecutive year, Episcopalians from the dioceses in San Diego and Los Angeles marked the arrival of Holy Week on Saturday with a caravan fueled by a message — love your neighbor — that came straight from the Bible."


"This time, there were also undertones that came straight from the headlines.


That’s because some of the neighbors in question are migrants from south of the border, whose fates are increasingly tied to the political winds blowing across the country from Washington, D.C., to San Diego.


As Lori Loughlin’s legal problems mount, she faces a fateful choice in college admissions scandal


From the LAT's RICHARD WINTON and MATTHEW ORMSETH: "In Boston to face charges in the college admissions scandal two weeks ago, actress Lori Loughlin waved at fans, shook the hands of prosecutors and signed autographs."


"But since then, Loughlin’s legal troubles have worsened considerably. The actress and her husband were indicted Tuesday on new charges. They must now decide whether to fight, or join other parents — including actress Felicity Huffman — and agree to plead guilty."


"Loughlin and her husband, fashion designer J. Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to have their two daughters admitted to USC in an athletic recruiting scam."


Think racism isn’t an issue in Fresno? This reader’s email might change your mind


Fresno Bee's MAREK WARSZAWSKI: "When you write opinions for a living, you can expect all manner of responses."


"This one, from an older female reader, landed with a thud in my email inbox the day my column appeared saying the next mayor of Fresno will be a Democrat and probably a Latino who represents neighborhoods south of Shaw Avenue."


"So delightful I thought I’d share."


“Well here we go with another sick, so-called Journalist,” it begins. “You are so Non-American you should go back to Poland.”


You’re never too old for Coachella: Meet 70-year-old Susan Phillips, a festival first-timer


From CHRIS LINDAHL, Press-Enterprise: "It’s early Sunday afternoon, April 14, at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival campground and not everyone has recovered from the night before."


"But Susan and Eric Phillips were ready to go. With Eric on guitar and Susan on tambourine, the pair made their way from campsite to campsite bringing a little musical sunshine to the bleary-eyed festival goers, playing original numbers like “I’m Special,” “Devils” and Susan’s favorite: “Mommy and Daddy.”


"The “Mommy” here is Susan, 70, who experienced Coachella for the first time this weekend with her son Eric, 43, who’s been 10 times. “It’s kind of like my happy place,” Eric said."



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