Stories From This Week's Episode
August 9, 2013
Taking the foreclosure crisis into its own hands, the city of Richmond is threatening an unprecedented use of eminent domain to bail out residents with underwater mortgages. The move is being contested vigorously by banks, but proponents say it would allow residents to refinance their homes at current market values and prevent future foreclosures. Eminent domain is the acquisition of private property for public use.
The threat of a second strike by BART workers this summer and other labor disputes have sparked debate about the role of unions and employers in guaranteeing middle class compensation and benefits. AC Transit, Alameda County's public transportation authority, also narrowly averted a strike this week.
Protesters marked the one year anniversary of a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond that sent more than 15,000 area residents to hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. The oil giant pleaded no contest to six criminal charges of violating labor and health codes and agreed to pay $2 million in fines and restitution. Meanwhile, the city of Richmond is suing Chevron over the August 6, 2012 explosion for "neglect...and corporate indifference."
San Francisco, Oakland, and six other California cities were granted waivers from the strict requirements and tough sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The school districts, which together encompass nearly 1 one million students, have one a year to re-allocate funding originally earmarked for tutoring and to implement an evaluation system that they proposed.
- Carolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
- Josh Richman, Bay Area News Group
- David Baker, San Francisco Chronicle
- Jill Tucker, San Francisco Chronicle
A look back at the life and work of pioneering Bay Area sculptor Ruth Asawa, who died this week at the age of 87. From KQED's archive, an excerpt from a 2005 SPARK profile showcases her creative process.
Also on KQED.org this week ...
Drought Watch 2015: Record-Low Sierra Snowpack
The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which typically supplies nearly a third of California's water, is showing the lowest water content on record: 6 percent of the long-term average for April 1. That shatters last year's low-water mark of 25 percent (tied with 1977).
"Boomtown" History of the San Francisco Bay Area
KQED's "Boomtown" series will seek to identify what is happening in real time in the current boom, and also draw out the causes and possible solutions to the conflicts and pressures between the old and the new.