A pioneering programme backed by £5 million of lottery cash has issued a call for user-led teams across the UK to apply for funding to research new ways to remove the barriers to independent living faced by disabled people.The Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL) programme is believed to be the world’s first major research programme led by disabled people, and should fund about 40 pieces of research and pilot projects over the next four years.The aim is to build “robust” evidence on how to influence both policy and practice on independent living, and how to remove the barriers of attitude, environment, organisation, communication and finance that disabled people face.The programme aims to “change the way research is done so that researchers and disabled people work together as partners”.A series of 19 roadshows across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales helped to decide on the programme’s four project themes: participating in the economy, participating in community and social life, participating in civic and public life, and participating “fully and equally in anything and everything”.Some of the issues raised in the roadshows about the barriers to participating in the economy included how to address the employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people; how schools, colleges and universities could be made more inclusive; and what could be done to address disability poverty by both increasing disabled people’s income, and reducing their extra costs.On community and social life, priorities included how to prevent social isolation; how organisations in local communities could be made fully inclusive; and how to stop disability hate crime.On participating in civic and public life, key issues raised included how to increase the number of disabled people in elected office; how disabled people can influence party manifestos and government policies; and how to change the media’s frequent portrayal of disabled people as “scrounger, tragic victim or heroic survivor”.The first opportunity to bid for funding opened this week, with a closing date of 27 July, with subsequent funding rounds opening in early 2017, 2018 and 2019.The programme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, and will be delivered by the disabled people’s organisations Disability Rights UK, Disability Action Northern Ireland, Inclusion Scotland and Disability Wales.Organisations can apply for grants of up to £150,000, with proposals initially assessed by a national advisory group – England’s group is chaired by disabled BBC presenter Peter White – before the programme’s central research committee of disabled people, academics and policy experts makes a final decision on funding.Rhian Davies (pictured), chief executive of Disability Wales, said: “Our aim is to produce new evidence on what would support disabled people to access their right to independent living and take full part in society.“The programme includes potential for pilot projects to test the evidence in practice and find out what will make a real difference to the quality of disabled people’s lives. We’re looking forward to receiving some exciting proposals.”Liz Sayce, chief executive of Disability Rights UK, said that disabled people would be “in the lead, setting the priorities and co-designing the projects.”The disabled academic Dr Tom Shakespeare, chair of DRILL’s central research committee, said: “The starting gun has been fired on a very exciting competitive research process.“We are looking for teams that have great ideas, true partnership between researchers and disabled people, and with real chance of improving the lives of disabled people.“This is the first round of a five-year funding programme that will change disabled people’s lives for the better.”
The public relations (PR) sector needs to confront its failings over the employment of disabled people, according to new research by an industry insider.One UK PR company with more than 300 employees has admitted that it does not have a single disabled member of staff, while the latest industry survey found just two per cent of people who work in PR said they were disabled.The research has been carried out by Ashley Phillips (pictured), who herself has an invisible impairment and worked in PR in the USA and the UK for nearly five years before beginning a masters degree in public relations and advertising at Richmond University.She decided to write about disability in PR for her dissertation, after becoming increasingly concerned about how few disabled people were employed by the industry.She told Disability News Service that she had never seen a single person with a visible impairment among the hundreds of professionals she had come across in her five years working in PR.Phillips, who has type one diabetes, said the only person she met in those five years who said they had an impairment was another woman with diabetes who she had seen using an insulin pump.Of about 83,000 people employed in the industry in 2016, just two per cent – less than 1,700 people – said they were disabled, according to the PR Census 2016 carried out by the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA).As recently as 2013, PRCA’s census did not even mention disability or disabled people.And when Phillips approached some of the best-known PR companies in the UK about her research, only one was willing to tell her how many disabled people it employed.She was told by this company that, of more than 300 employees, not one of them was a disabled person.She was told: “This is something we are looking into. It is a problem.”Phillips said she realised there probably were some disabled people who worked at this company but that they were just not willing to disclose their status to their employer.She said she hoped her research would “open the conversation” on disability within the industry.She said she did not believe she had faced discrimination in the industry but believed there was “a lot of misunderstanding”.She said: “I think disability is considered a large taboo and people don’t know how to handle it, so they don’t.“I haven’t looked into other industries but I do feel [members of the PR industry] are behind in regards to how the world is moving.”When she first met her soon-to-be husband (she is getting married next month), when she told him she worked in PR, he replied, “Oh, you’re one of those.”She said: “This was the first encounter I had of specific stigmas associated with PR – that often everyone in the industry was a considered to be a typical Sex And The City Samantha Jones.“However, that conversation opened my eyes to noticing who my colleges were on a day-to-day basis – mostly young, white, middle-to-upper class and predominantly female.”She added: “This is not 100 per cent of the industry, they are opening diversity efforts, but everybody strives to be that perfect person and that ideal industry figure.”She said she believed that those at chief executive level were showing a “blatant disregard” for the issue, while executives at lower levels were guilty of “a lack of understanding”.She added: “From access to awareness, the industry can make many changes to recruit the nearly untouched pool of potential talent.“By spreading awareness of the lack of disability inclusivity in PR I hope to open the conversation and help make people with disabilities an inclusive part of the industry.”When contacted about Phillips’ research, PRCA accepted that there was “a general lack of understanding of disability in the industry”, but pointed out that the 2016 census also revealed that 78 per cent of all respondents suggested there were no significant obstacles to their organisation employing disabled people.Matt Cartmell, PRCA’s communications, marketing and events director, said: “The small numbers of disabled people in the PR and communications industry is certainly a concern but it may have to do more with a lack of understanding of what disability is and the stigma surrounding disability than employers not accommodating employees with disability.”He said a PRCA survey had revealed in May that nearly three-fifths of PR and communications professionals had experienced mental ill-health, while a slightly higher proportion had never spoken to their manager about their mental health.He said there was often a limited understanding of mental ill-health, which was “concerning because the industry itself is fast-paced and the ‘always on’ mentality means that employees can suffer from anxiety disorders, stress, or the workplace can exacerbate existing mental health conditions such as depression”.Cartmell said: “The industry isn’t necessarily behind society on the issue of disability.“While the stigma surrounding disability certainly exists and the industry has struggled with hiring more diverse candidates, there are several examples of organisations that are making employee wellbeing and diversity the key focus of their business.“The industry is increasingly aware that there is a strong moral and business case for increasing diversity in the workplace and accommodating employees with disabilities. “PRCA is committed to raising awareness about disability, diversity, and mental ill health and we have found that a lot of PR and communications practitioners are engaged in this debate.”He added: “We have seen that a lot of members and organisations in the wider industry are introducing unconscious bias training in their recruitment practices.“More importantly, we have seen that organisations are talking about disability and implementing policies to accommodate disabled employees.”
A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS… The government has been asked by campaigners from across the world why it blocked the “meaningful” involvement of user-led and survivor organisations in this week’s high-profile global mental health summit in London.Two open letters have criticised the way the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit was organised, and the hypocrisy of it being hosted by a UK government that was heavily criticised over its record on disability rights by a UN committee a little over 12 months ago.One letter, spearheaded by the National Survivor User Network, was signed by more than 100 organisations and individuals, including mental health service-users and survivors, user-led networks, academics and mental health professionals from more than 20 countries, including Argentina, Peru, India, Chile, Columbia, Japan, Kenya, Estonia and Hungary.The letter says there was little or no involvement of user-led organisations in planning the event, in a blatant breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.It criticises the attempt to position the UK government as a world leader on mental health when the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities had raised such significant concerns about its breaches of disability rights, both last year and in a 2016 inquiry report which found it guilty of “grave and systematic violations” of the convention.It also points to the discrimination within mental health services faced by black and minority ethnic communities in the UK, including “high levels of misdiagnosis, compulsory treatment, over-medication, community treatment orders and culturally inappropriate treatment”.And the letter warns that mental health survivor and service-user groups in the global south have objected to attempts – led by the UK – to import “failed western models of mental health care” into their countries.The letter compares the UK government’s “hypocritical” attempt to take the lead in creating a “global declaration on political leadership in mental health” with the decision by the UK to host its Global Disability Summit in July, which also saw an “intolerant government posing as the upholder of the rights” of disabled people.Those signing the letter asked the UK government to commit to putting forward any declaration that comes out of this week’s summit for consultation and ratification by a wide range of international user-led organisations and disabled people’s organisations, a request it looks likely to ignore.And they asked the government to promise to “lead by example” by changing its “discriminatory laws that threaten the lives of mental health service-users”, including social security policies.The second letter was coordinated by the national service-user network Shaping Our Lives (SOL) and was signed by NSUN and user-led grassroots groups including the Mental Health Resistance Network, Disabled People Against Cuts and Recovery in the Bin, all of which also signed the first letter.This letter raises concerns that the summit would “seriously misrepresent the issues and problems of mental health and mental health service users globally” because of the “systematic exclusions” of representatives of user-led and survivor organisations.This exclusion, the letter says, was a clear breach of the UN convention.It says that the summit’s organisers side-lined attempts by the European Network of (Ex) Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (ENUSP) and the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry (WNUSP), both of which signed the letter, to secure invitations for representatives of their organisations.Disability News Service (DNS) has seen a letter from ENUSP to a Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) civil servant, sent last month, after both ENUSP and WNUSP failed to receive invitations to take part in the summit.ENUSP suggested a string of elected representatives from member organisations across Europe who could attend the summit and pointed out that it was “the only grassroots, independent representative organisation of mental health service users, ex-users and survivors of psychiatry at a European level since 1990”.It stressed the importance of having “representative people with lived experience at the Summit”, but the civil servant turned down the offer and said there were only spaces left for representatives to take part in the area of finance and investment at the summit.This is a specialist area where the ENUSP representatives would not have been able to make a meaningful contribution.The SOL letter says: “This failure to enable involvement also reflects wide and growing concerns about the inadequacy of and crisis in UK mental health policy and provision and the failure to listen to service users, their families, communities and organisations in both mental health and welfare reform policy, both of which are having catastrophic consequences for many service users, their families and communities.”Asked to comment on the two letters, a DHSC spokeswoman said: “All dialogue on mental health is key; we have invited a range of people from those with lived experience, to civil society, academics and policy makers who represent more than 65 countries from around the world.“We have ensured that the involvement of people with lived experience has run throughout our work on the summit, with their experiences at the heart of our advisory panel and in every workstream.“Those with personal experience attending were nominated by representative groups of people with lived experience – this group of consultees include the convener of this open letter and the signatories include people who are attending the summit.“We recognise there is further work to do for all countries on mental health which is exactly why this summit is such a vital step.”She declined to say whether any declaration from the summit would be put forward for consultation and ratification by user-led organisations and DPOs, or whether the UK government would promise to lead by example by changing its discriminatory laws.Professor Peter Beresford, co-chair of Shaping Our Lives, said: “Consulting people is one thing, but we know that taking any notice of what they say may be another.”He said this would “explain the strong divergence between the claim to involve service-users and the amazingly broad-based criticism there has been from them and their organisations”.Jasna Russo, a survivor-researcher from Germany and a member of ENUSP, who helped draft the SOL letter, was invited by the UK government to attend the summit as an individual with lived experience, but after she asked if she could attend as a representatives of ENUSP her request for funding was rejected.She told DNS: “Regardless of how many countries they come from, there is a big difference between inviting persons with ‘lived experience’ and representatives of international grassroots organisations who are working on the summit’s topic for many years putting forward independent advocacy for users/survivors and people with psychosocial disability.“This gathering was simply not interested in such perspectives. As in many other involvement initiatives – people subscribing to medical model of mental illness are far more attractive partners than those bringing in political and socio-economic issues.“Even though this summit talks about poverty in relation to mental health it seems much more focused on how to make the Western biomedical psychiatry go global.”Picture: Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock speaking at the summit
0% Tags: Business • Calle 24 • food Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% “Preserving the [existing] culture will bring us more customers – It will be very good for our business and for the street,” she said, explaining that she hopes the corridor’s independently-owned shops and unique character will invite tourism from beyond the Mission. In an effort to curb 24th Street’s transformation from a Latino cultural hub to a promenade of upscale restaurants and bars, District 9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen proposed legislation that would impose zoning regulations on new businesses vying for a space on the coveted corridor. Restaurateurs in particular would face additional hurdles as the new legislation requires city approval for restaurants and bars hoping to open within a 300-foot diameter in areas already consisting of 35 percent of such establishments. While many of her neighbors have faced rent increases, Zhuang said she feels secure in her lease and hopes that the cultural district and proposed commercial use restrictions will maintain the status quo but also spark the interest of “more Americans,” because they will bring “more profits to our business. ““I do not worry about if there will be rising prices cause the price here is always high. I’ve been used to that,” she said.The owner of Sweetheart Bakery at 2956 24th St., who gave her name as Xu, added: “I know it will make it difficult for people outside of the district to come here and do business, but I don’t think it will affect us.” Xu’s family came to the Mission in 1985 and has been running the family business ever since. She owns the building and said that their customers are largely Latino so she has a vested interest in keeping her regular customers in the neighborhood. “Mexicans are much better than Chinese – Chinese are just so picky. They want good quality, large portion, and want the food to be looking good,” said Xu. “Mexicans are different, they are easy to please. As long as things are cheap, they don’t care too much about all that.” Still, Xu said that many of the changes she’s witnessed over the decades have been positive and attributes them to an influx of wealth, upscale businesses and their customers, in her community.“This place was a drug center in the past, now it’s much better,” she said. “The security is better and there are many more tourists.”Chinese-owned businesses are the minority on the street distinguished by the city as the 24th Street Latino Cultural District – representing just some seven out of 150 storefronts. But unlike many they have weathered the gentrifying corridor’s skyrocketing rents and changing demographics that have displaced many longtime residents and threatened Latino businesses in recent years as the corridor has become increasingly desirable.The legislation would protect existing businesses by restricting the merging of 24th Street’s storefronts of spaces that total more than a combined 799 square feet. In recent years, some some local businesses came under threat of displacement – such as a bookstore and neighboring indigenous arts shop that were nearly evicted when investors offered up $100,000 to replace those tenants with a high-end restaurant. Ownership has helped. Despite the corridor’s rampant changes, its small community of Chinese merchants reports that for them, it’s been mostly businesses as usual. “We own the building, we don’t need to pay rent,” said Yu Bixian, who works at Ming’s Fong Lam Restaurant at 2878 24th St. Latinos also make up much of the restaurant’s clientele, and Yu worries that gentrification will displace many of her loyal customers. “Now the rent here is so high, if they move out of here, they won’t be able to come back.”Others said that while they support protecting small businesses, they also welcome new establishments and a healthy dose of competition on the corridor. “If you feel like you can go into a neighborhood and compete, offer a product at a reasonable price and compete, I don’t see what the problem is,” said Rick Rodriguez, who alongside his wife runs Punjab Restaurant at 2838 24th St. Rodriguez said his wife’s family has owned the Chinese restaurant for some 45 years and also owns their building. He attributed their longevity in the neighborhood to ownership. The new legislation, he said, could save long-term businesses who are not so fortunate. “I think there should be something to assist them, especially long term families who‘ve had businesses here…Casa Sanchez and a few others, who have been here forever,” he said. One might think that Asian business owners along 24th Street watching the efforts to preserve its Latino culture might feel left out. They don’t. Instead, the effort to protect existing Latino businesses has overwhelming support among the street’s Chinese merchants. Moreover, many said they feel secure there because they, like some of the Latino businesses, own the buildings where their businesses are located. “[This legislation] proves the government cares about our business which is good for us,” said Zhuang Liang Liang, owner of Teresita Nail Spa. “This is a very busy street, but the consumption is quite low, and the rent is not cheap either, so it’s not easy to do business here.” Zhuang has rented the space at 3194 24th St. that houses her nail salon and spa for some three years, and said that little competition from other Chinese businesses initially drew her to the predominantly Latino corridor.
Tags: police • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% A cardboard box left in the vicinity of 17th and Alabama streets Monday morning prompted emergency responders to evacuate around 200 people from an office building in the Mission District, but police determined it wasn’t a threat.Police responded around 8:45 a.m. Monday morning to a call about a suspicious package, said Mission Station Captain Gaetano Caltagirone.Some 10 officers and the bomb squad responded to the scene.Caltagirone said officers found a cardboard box, measuring 10 by 12 by 4 inches, with some writing on it. Though he declined to specify what the writing said, he said, “it didn’t look right.” 0% Nonetheless, officers found no bomb and, upon further investigation, determined the box not to be suspicious after all.Workers at a nearby building estimated some 200 people worked there and were evacuated.“I’m happy they came out, got everybody out, better to be safe than sorry,” said Will Yarbrough, who works in the building.
0% Tags: Elections • Mayor • police • politics • SFPD Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% San Francisco’s bellicose police union today officially announced it is endorsing mayoral candidate Angela Alioto. The language at today’s press conference did not match casual discussions in recent weeks with Police Officers Association officials, who essentially told us: To hell with it, we’re gonna probably endorse Angela Alioto. To hell with it, they did. Ideologically, this makes plenty of sense. Alioto, a former board president, successful civil rights lawyer, and the daughter of former mayor Joe Alioto, is uncompromising. She is not an equivocating politician, nor one to modulate her positions. That sounds a lot like the POA, which has increasingly become a municipal anachronism and reactionary force. And, depending on whom you speak with, the same terms could be applied to the POA’s chosen candidate. “The POA and Angela share the same DNA, politically,” argues one city political operative. “They try to cast themselves as fundamentally common-sense. And, also, fundamentally Old San Francisco.” Alioto is the closest thing this race has to a law-and-order candidate; while every other mayoral aspirant eventually came out against the POA-backed Taser measure, Alioto is emphatically for it. “LOL, yes I signed it at the MLK breakfast,” she texted me. So far, everything makes sense. Where we start to diverge from sense is Alioto’s standing in the polls, where she consistently comes in a distant fourth (though she tells me these polls are phony). For the POA to put its money and brand on the line for a candidate with a remote chance of winning is a move political scientists define with a highly technical term: “stupid.” But, as everyone knows, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. “They are not necessarily trying to back a winner here. They’d rather back a candidate who’s consistent with their values rather than endorsing a candidate who’d immediately disappoint them once he or she became mayor,” said a longtime San Francisco strategist. “It’s an endorsement that feels good, even if it’s not necessarily the wisest political move.” The cops’ union contract is currently being negotiated with the city under the watch of Mayor Mark Farrell — long a reliable POA ally — so the union, for years, may not need to return cap in hand to whomever wins June’s election. That potentially frees the POA up to do as it pleases, even more than the wealthy and aggressive union would have been wont to do anyway. And what the POA felt inclined to do was take yet another shot at London Breed, their erstwhile favorite politician turned target of personal animus. (The POA differed with Mark Leno on transparency-related policies he pursued in Sacramento; policy differences do not make for the incendiary conditions of personal relationships gone sour. The POA doesn’t give much thought to Jane Kim whatsoever except to come up with new synonyms for “left-wing radical” to apply to her). Breed earlier this year scored the coveted firefighter union’s endorsement. Unlike the firefighters, the police do not walk precincts for their chosen candidate. They do not knock on doors. They do not have the overwhelmingly positive societal position of firefighters. And they do not have as mighty an independent expenditure campaign as the firefighters, who figure to spend heavily and serve as a conduit for “dark money” from any manner of wealthy political backers. But the POA does have a goodly chunk of change, and a provably devil-may-care attitude toward spending it. The union might, one strategist supposes, “use the Taser campaign to highlight or diminish other mayoral candidates.” Expect an “air war” and possible mailers both pushing Alioto and, perhaps, denigrating her opponents. One guess as to who gets denigrated the most. Alioto, barring a vast miscalculation by every last vestige of political thinking in San Francisco not named Alioto, will not win in June. But she may yet siphon away those conservative, West-side votes other candidates — again, guess who — desire. In the end, if enough voters join with the POA in announcing: “To hell with it, I’m voting for Angela,” that might be enough to alter the race. And, maybe, that’s enough for the POA.
0% The union may find itself relegated to a political bit player. The chief may find himself out of a job. And the SFPD may continue to run on autopilot. Email Address Tags: SFPD • tasers Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% The Sixth and Bryant headquarters of the San Francisco Police Officers Association is well-lit and airy, with high ceilings and parquet floors. It is every bit as sleek and elegant as the adjacent Hall of Justice is dumpy and decrepit. It’s a fitting citadel for a union flush with cash; an outfit that — until recently — weighed in significantly on who advanced in the San Francisco Police Department, and could demand fealty from elected officials. It’s still a hell of an office, but those days are done, at least for now. The police union has poured vast quantities of its members’ money into failed causes of late, with each mounting loss being more humiliating than the last. Most recently, in this month’s election, the POA’s Taser measure, Prop. H, not only lost, but lost by a 60-40 split — and saw the police union’s nearly half-million dollar campaign routed by, of all organizations, the city’s Democratic Socialists. The POA remains defiant, if diminished. If it had a mantra to carve into these walls to loom over the yellowing photos of former patrolmen and Officer Isaac Espinoza’s framed uniform, it could do worse than the dying words of Captain Ahab: To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.This is more or less the M.O. of the POA right now. Like Ahab, it has allowed itself to become consumed by enmity and has been pulled beneath the waves while lashed in a death struggle with its opponent. And yet, the POA’s bête noire, outsider Chief Bill Scott, has problems of his own. And, like those of the POA, they’re largely self-inflicted. When he was vetted by the Police Commission for this job, Scott, a 27-year man at the Los Angeles Police Department, was purportedly asked if he would apply for the top spot thereafter Chief Charlie Beck inevitably retired. He apparently told this city’s powers-that-be that he would not. Granted, the political situation in San Francisco has changed a lot in Scott’s year and a half atop the department. Mayor Ed Lee, who installed Scott, died in December. Scott found himself answering to a second mayor, then a third, and, next month or so, a potential fourth. Scott may well have been 100 percent honest in 2017 when he reportedly pledged he wasn’t interested in heading back to L.A. But, in 2018, he demonstrably was. Scott applied for the job. He progressed to the last round, as one of three final candidates. And he didn’t get it, forcing him to slink back to San Francisco with, as even his firmest supporters put it, “some trust to earn back.” Others are less charitable. “He’s ruined no matter what,” says one veteran cop. “Because he’s second-best for L.A. We’re getting the L.A. reject. And even though he’s staying, it showed he was using us as a stepping stone.” Others are less charitable still: “The thing the politicians and people who support Scott should consider is that the officers now have a legitimate reason to not follow him,” says a longtime SFPD higher-up. “He has proven them right and given them a reason to not trust him. And when he didn’t answer the questions about the LAPD and his applying for the job — look back at all the things he’s said about being transparent. It’s hypocritical.” And others are simply pragmatic: “Scott is an injured chief at this point. I don’t know if he can recover,” says another longtime department leader. Could it cost him his job? “There’s a much greater likelihood of that happening now than a month ago, before his participation in the LAPD hiring process was made public,” continues the veteran cop. Scott’s dalliance with Los Angeles was “a huge blunder, and one the next mayor has to address.” Prop. H was supposed to win. The measure would have undermined both the chief and the Police Commission with regard to setting Taser policy — but voters weren’t supposed to care about that. The Police Commission, in fact, has granted the officers their decade-long wish to have Tasers, but has framed policy less permissive than the ballot measure penned by the union. But, again, voters were supposed to not care, they were merely supposed to say “getting Tased is better than getting shot; I like Tasers.” But voters cared. The POA and its allies outspent the Prop. H foes by a 5-to-1 margin, only to lose at the polls by a 3-to-2 margin. Prior to the vote, SFPD higher-ups were saying things to me like: “This will be a big wake-up call for the politicians and the Police Commission,” and “Now they’ll have to listen to the POA a little bit,” and “Prop. H is going to be a sign that we do understand the public.” Savage. At least they didn’t wager on the Cavs. Even though it wasn’t true, the POA was happy to frame Proposition H as a referendum on Tasers. Considering the results at the polls, are they still willing to make that claim? Prior to this ignominious defeat, no serious person would have considered actually putting a real referendum on Tasers onto the ballot. But now someone might. So, that’s a kick in the teeth. An expensive kick in the teeth. But it’s not the first. The POA spent heavily to defend the cops caught up in the Textgate scandal, even though it wasn’t strictly obligated to do so. It has carried on legal trench warfare for years regarding the department’s use-of-force policies that it likely won’t win. The union developed a personal vendetta against probable next mayor London Breed and put its money behind no-hope candidate Angela Alioto. And it gets worse: When the United States Supreme Court soon hands down its decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, it will all but certainly deal a crippling blow to public-sector unions across the realm. Employees will be entitled to benefit from unions’ collective bargaining without being mandated to contribute all or part of their dues. With the POA’s recent fiscal performance, it remains to be seen how many SFPD officers will opt to stop paying up. And yet, despite all the bad decisions and the immolation of the union’s social and political capital, it can remain a powerful force. Not by calling the shots, as it used to, but by keeping anyone else from doing so. In this state, unions can draw out negotiations with municipalities for up to a year, at which time the city’s last and best offer is usually automatically imposed. But not in this city. Here, thanks to a 1990s ballot measure, the issue goes to an arbitrator — who is answerable to nobody. The threat to do this, on literally every issue, keeps the POA viable. It can squander money and goodwill and allies. But that means little in, say, a closed-door negotiation about body cameras, with arbitration as a backdrop — as is occurring at the next Police Commission meeting.In this way, the union can carry on indefinitely. Scott cannot. Even before his L.A. dalliance, his erstwhile allies — or, if allies is too strong a word, cops who’d given him the benefit of the doubt — began to lose confidence. As Mission Local wrote in May, Scott raised eyebrows by keeping former chief Greg Suhr’s command staff intact, and then rendering the department even more top-heavy by kicking a few extra aging cops upstairs. That’s a marked contrast to what former chief George Gascón — a fellow LAPD lifer — did, elevating younger, hungrier cops like David Lazar and Greg McEachern onto the command staff. These were, at the time, promising younger officers — and far off enough from retirement that they had to work hard (and work hard for the chief who promoted them).Scott hasn’t done this. Instead, many complain within the department, he’s essentially delegated day-to-day operations to assistant chief Hector Sainez, who was there when he got here. “If you say you want to change anything, why keep everybody from the old guard? If Suhr’s regime was messed up, why didn’t you touch it?” asks a department lifer. “Even LeBron can’t win with a crappy team.” It remains to be seen what team Scott — and LeBron — find themselves on next. It remains to be seen how effectively Scott and his command staff can disseminate the Department of Justice-generated reform procedures down to the average cop on the beat. It remains to be seen if these cops are willing to take Scott seriously anymore or just wait him out. And it remains to be seen just how disruptive —For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee — the POA is willing to be. And, regardless of it all, crime and mayhem carry on, even if the SFPD doesn’t. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter
Not to be deterred, I send an email introducing Mission Local and attaching that forlorn backgrounder. I wait. February goes by, March too. I follow up in April. Five days later, I hear from Maria Healey, the senior administrative manager of programs.“The foundation is not currently accepting unsolicited requests …. ”“The Equity Grants Program – which is the foundation’s “open call” for proposals aligned with the guidelines of the program – will open in January, 2020.”Alas, that’s the extent of the information. There’s no hint how to apply for funds through the “new grantee portal.” I picture the foundation expelling streams of $1,000 bills – None headed my way.Earlier ColumnsUpstart : Never say Die, Salesforce Act 2, July 2, 2019Upstart: First thought best thought? Salesforce Act 1, June 25, 2019Upstart: The same (trying to raise money) but different (Mission Local is a nonprofit).Tuesday, June 18, 2019. Subscribe to Mission Local’s daily newsletter Email Address A week after my phone call with Salesforce, I decide that not all is lost. I can put that backgrounder to good use.Large funders, I’ve learned, like to see that you have local foundation support. Here, that would be the San Francisco Foundation.Judging from its website, we seem a perfect fit for one of its Equity Grants. We’re inclusive! We train a lot of minority journalists. We’re committed to remedying racial inequities: We are one of the only news sites in San Francisco covering the police department’s abysmally slow reform process –—a process that in the end could result in profound changes in the treatment of communities of color.“Check back for more information about our next funding cycle,” is the message I see at the end of January.
Meriam said she never pictured herself working in the corporate office.She said at first it was a fun job brightening peoples day while working in the cafes.The former barista said working hard can open a lot of opportunities but she looks back on her past to help her in her current role.Related Article: 5 things to avoid buying during Labor Day sales this year“Falling back on my experience and knowing what it’s like to start from the ground up and working in the cafe every single day, I always fall back on my experience and ya know different ways I can help them grow their business based on that,” Meriam said.She was only 17 when she started at Port City Java, now at 32 she’s the director of franchise operations.Meriam said she is excited to see how she grows while working for the company.Tomorrow is American Business Women’s Day. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — You’ve heard of folks working their way to the top, right? They start at the bottom of the totem pole and over time, go from taking orders to giving them.From a high school job working as a barista to now a company executive , Sarah Meriam is excited to still be working for Port City Java.- Advertisement –
Anyone with information should contact Detective Fuller at 910-398-5335. The woman pictured is a person of interest in an incident at a Southport McDonalds (Photo: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office) Southport, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying a woman.The woman is a person of interest in an incident that occurred at a Southport McDonald’s Wednesday evening.- Advertisement –
A crane tries to extract a dump truck from mud after it falls off the old Oak Island Bridge. (Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY) OAK ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — Crews responded Saturday to a collision involving multiple vehicles that caused a dump truck to fall off the Oak Island Barbee Bridge.Witnesses said a UPS truck was involved in an accident with another vehicle, and the dump truck driver lost control trying to avoid those vehicles. The dump truck went over the bridge and landed in mud.- Advertisement – The Oak Island Police Department reported the crash on social media at about 1:30 p.m. The bridge was immediately closed, and traffic was still blocked in both directions as of 6:00 p.m.Officials at the Oak Island Fire Department said they were not able to release any additional details on the crash.We will have more information as it becomes available.
The proposed no-wake zone is intended to mitigate hazards to boater safety in the vicinity of the boating access area and bridge. It will extend shore to shore from 150 yards east of the Sunset Beach bridge to 50 yards west of the bridge.All interested citizens are encouraged to attend. If you have any questions, please contact Betsy Haywood, the Commission’s No-Wake Zone Coordinator, at (919) 707-0013 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Boating (Photo: MGN Online) SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission will hold a public hearing next week to receive comments concerning a proposal for a no-wake zone near the Sunset Beach boating access area. The hearing will be held on February 5 at 5 p.m. at the Town Hall Council Chambers at 700 Sunset Blvd. North in Sunset Beach.- Advertisement –
Daniel Bowes, a Staff Attorney at the North Carolina Justice Center, said there is a state-wide problem with people having their driver’s licenses suspended for a long period of time because they can’t afford to pay off traffic tickets.Bowes said in North Carolina after 100 days of not paying, you automatically lose your license until you do pay or have the debt waived by a judge.The group worked with non-profit Leading Into New Communities, also known as LINC, to refer people to this program to help get their licenses back.Related Article: Granddaughter of former UNC chancellor charged in ‘Silent Sam’ toppling“We looked at their driving records, and if they had long term suspensions based on a failure to pay, and you know, sometimes it’s hundreds of dollars and basically saying you know ‘I would pay for that, but I would not be able to afford groceries, rent, that sort of stuff,’” Bowes said.Bowes said there were about 75 referrals, and 16 drivers had their debts waived in New Hanover County on Wednesday.“The students met with these clients on Monday, drew up the motions yesterday and we presented them to the judge today,” Bowes said. “And we’re lucky that several individuals were provided with relief and so some of those individuals will now be able to drive.”The goal is to eventually have a state-wide model for this program. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Instead of vacationing, several law students are spending their spring break helping those in need.Nine students with the pro bono clinic at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School are in New Hanover County to volunteer their time.- Advertisement –
SOUTHEASTERN NC (WWAY) — The NC Highway Patrol spent a week conducting “Operation Drive to Live,” a campaign to reduce teen-related crashes during prom season.The operation began Monday, April 16 and focused on education and enforcement.- Advertisement – Troopers conducted more than 153 traffic safety presentations and patrolled nearly 560 school zones, monitoring driving behaviors of teens as they traveled to and from school.The NC Highway Patrol says across the nation, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death of teens each year.“Simply talking to teenagers about the perils of driving recklessly is the first step”, said First Sergeant Michael Baker, SHP spokesperson. “Working together, we can reduce the number of teenage collisions one conversation at a time.”Related Article: Crash in Brunswick County backs up traffic on US 17Although the campaign has ended, troopers will continue to monitor teenage drivers throughout the year.Here’s a look at some of the totals in our area, which includes 10 counties in Southeastern NC:53 DWI charges5 DWI under 21 charges795 Speeding tickets248 Seat belt tickets2 Felony drug violationsAcross the state, a total of 12,801 traffic and criminal violations were found during this campaign.
River Place is a planned 13-story mixed-use development in the 200 block of North Water Street, across the road from the Hotel Ballast. That hotel, formerly the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, was renovated and renamed under Hilton’s Tapestry Collection brand late last year.The lawsuit claims that a drainage improvement project on Water Street to facilitate River Place’s construction has blocked the hotel’s driveways, inconveniencing guests and employees. SOHO Wilmington claims the construction, which started in January, has cost the hotel revenue.Click here to read more from StarNewsOnline. Construction in front of Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington. (Photo: WWAY) WILMINGTON, NC (StarNewsOnline) — The owners of the Hotel Ballast in downtown Wilmington have filed a lawsuit against the developers of River Place, alleging construction on Water Street has caused the hotel to lose money.On Tuesday SOHO Wilmington LLC, which owns the hotel, filed suit in federal court against Water Street Ventures, LLC, East West Partners Management Company, Inc. and Barnhill Contracting Company. East West is developing River Place through Water Street Ventures, and Barnhill is handling construction.- Advertisement –
Aqib Khan Malik (Photo: New Hanover Co. Jail) The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says it seized about 100 pounds of marijuana from a Park Ave. home during a bust on Dec. 13, 2018. (Photo: New Hanover Co. Sheriff’s Office) WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office says two men are in jail after deputies seized about 100 pounds of high-grade marijuana.According to a news release detectives conducted a week-long investigation that led them to get a a search warrant for a home at 5006 Park Ave.- Advertisement – 1 of 3 Detectives executed the warrant last night around. They say they found the marijuana inside.They charged Aqib Malik, 22, from High Point, with nine felony counts, including trafficking. Trevor Rocklein, 20, faces seven felony charges, including trafficking marijuana. Both were scheduled to make their first court appearance this afternoon.An application for the search warrant says a confidential informant tipped off investigators that Khan was reportedly getting 100 pounds of marijuana delivered to Wilmington every week. Investigators say he has been charged with drug crimes before. The application also claims the information told police Aqib sells the marijuana for around $1,500 per pound as well as cocaine for $20,000-$30,000 per kilogram. The application says with the help of the informant, they found Aqib inside the house next to a large duffle bag of marijuana. Trevor Scott Rocklein (Photo: New Hanover Co. Jail)
BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WTVD) — A new documentary examining a Bladen County teenager’s mysterious death won an award at the Sundance Film Festival.Five years ago 17-year-old Lennon Lacy was found dead hanging from a swing set.To read the full story, click here. Lennon Lacy
Dropbox’s COO Dennis Woodside will be interim marketing leader for the company. Image Credit: TheGear Advertisement Dropbox’s VP of marketing Julie Herendeen is leaving the company, a source with knowledge of the matter told Business Insider.It’s unclear what prompted Herendeen’s departure, or where she is headed once she leaves Dropbox.According to Business Insider, Dropbox’s COO Dennis Woodside will be interim marketing leader while the company looks for Herendeen’s replacement, employees were told. – Advertisement – Herendeen’s departure comes as Dropbox is doubling down on its efforts to make money from businesses, in an effort to diversify from its traditional base of consumer revenue.Herendeen joined Dropbox in September 2014, after serving as the VP marketing officer of the security company Lookout from February 2010 to September 2014. Before that, she was at Yahoo (2003 to 2008) and Shutterfly (1999 to 2001). Her last day at Dropbox will be on April 15.Recently, Dropbox’s rich valuation and growth prospects have been in the spotlight. There have been a series of reports suggesting the company is struggling to grow its revenue fast enough to justify the 10 billion USD (33.7 trillion UGX) valuation it drew two years ago.[related-posts]In January, one of its investors marked down Dropbox’s estimated worth by nearly half.Still, the company recently announced some new performance metrics aimed at showing that the business remains on track. Dropbox said it has surpassed 500 million total users.“Julie Herendeen has created substantial and lasting impact at Dropbox; she built and led our global marketing team, pioneered our first global brand campaign, and managed our first customer-focused event, Dropbox Open. We’re grateful for her leadership, rigor and creativity and wish her all the best,” Dropbox said in a statement.[Business Insider]
AfriGal Tech team pitches to a panel of judges at the University of Washington in Seattle. Advertisement AfriGal Tech team pitches to a panel of judges at the University of Washington in Seattle.“But you said it has an external lens… how portable is this?” Asked one of the judges before the Ugandan girls pulled out a 3D-printed prototype.“Oh, it’s like that? Good,” remarked the judge.The students had made a less than outstanding start to their pitch but caught everyone’s attention when they started taking questions from the panel. – Advertisement – As we walked down the hallway, we were interrupted by a BBC journalist interested in setting up an appointment for a televised interview.“I’ve just interviewed a team from Australia, and I thought since your innovation is related, it will be interesting to interview you as well,” she said. But they weren’t immediately available as they were rushing to shoot the official Microsoft video for the competition.The Ugandan team, named AfriGal Tech, has developed mDex, a mobile sickle cell diagnosis tool, made up of a mobile app and an external compound lens, that allows for a quick, easy and affordable diagnosis, by using computer vision and pattern recognition.According to AfriGal Tech, every year in Uganda 30,000 babies are born with sickle cell disease, a hereditary and life-threatening blood disorder. 80% of these babies won’t make it to the age of five.Their team of four girls, Bonita Nanziri, Rachel Aitaru, Rebecca Arono and Beatrice Nasike were recognized as the overall winners of the national finals in Uganda. They are the only all-girl team in the finalists, and are being mentored by Joshua Okello, part of 2012’s winning innovation, WinSenga.Imagine Cup is the world’s premier competition for student technologists, developers and aspiring entrepreneurs to create innovative projects and ultimately bring those ideas to market.This year’s World Finals are being held Seattle, Washington, with winners expected to be announced later this week.
Advertisement VMK, a company founded by Vérone Mankou, the Congolese entrepreneur behind the first tablet made in Africa, announced the opening of its first VMK store in Abidjan on 19 February 2015.Located in the Treichville commune at Zone 3 C, Immeuble Rive Gauche, this point of sale – which will exclusively sell products from the VMK range – marks the beginning of the Congolese company’s expansion beyond its borders.The Abidjan VMK store, which will ultimately employ around 10 people, will be an addition to VMK’s first-ever store in Brazzaville, which was opened in partnership with the South African operator, MTN. – Advertisement – VMK plans to expand its store locations to five countries in the region by the end of the year. A second store is scheduled to open in the Ivory Coast economic capital, before the opening of three other VMK stores in Kinshasa, Douala and Dakar before the end of 2015. “My underlying ambition is to bridge the digital gap in Africa. These VMK stores are being set up to make new technologies accessible to as many people as possible,” explains Vérone Mankou. “We will offer a top-of-the-range selection of products, aimed at the general public.”The VMK range, which also includes two smartphone models available from FCFA 11,900 and FCFA 19,900 (EUR 18 and EUR 30 respectively) has recently been enhanced by the addition of a premium model, the Elikia L. This outstanding handset, offered at FCFA 64,900 (EUR 99), comes equipped with a larger screen than its predecessor. Not only that, but VMK is getting ready to launch its second tablet in March.It will be available for less than FCFA 140,000 (EUR 210). “The opening of a store in Abidjan is an essential step in the extension of our Pan-African vision. It is here, at the crossroads of West Africa, that VMK has decided to embark upon conquering the new class of African consumers,” adds Vérone Mankou.Produced in China until now, VMK devices will shortly be assembled in the soon-to-be factory in the Republic of Congo. This production unit, which is in the process of being built in the Mpila neighbourhood of Brazzaville, has required an investment of nearly two million dollars and will be used exclusively for the VMK range of products. VMK’s Chinese partner company has started training the locals who will be employed at the factory – more than 90 people in total. VMK plans to produce 350,000 units per month.