The Public Press invited candidates to share audio responses to questions that we formed using survey responses from the San Francisco community. Candidates for District 19 State Assembly were given the following question:We asked San Francisco residents to tell us about the most pressing issues in their districts. According to survey responses we received, homelessness and housing affordability are the top concerns citywide. If you are elected to the State Assembly, what do you plan to do about these issues?
Lawmakers, experts and advocates across California are pushing for legislation that would make judges take regular training in recognizing domestic violence and child abuse. The crusade is an attempt to lessen the chances that a judge will place a child in the custody of a dangerous parent. Family court judges routinely decide that domestic abuse claims are not credible and grant custody to the allegedly abusive parent. But making the wrong call can end with children losing their lives.
A state senator said she withdrew a proposal to reform the family court system in August after harsh criticism from the California Judicial Council, which called requiring extra training on family violence law burdensome and reflective of an “advocacy agenda.”
On average in the U.S., more than 1 in 3 women, and 1 in 4 men, will experience physical violence, rape or stalking by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline. Nevertheless, when victims turn to family court for protection from their abusers, they often face skeptical judges. And that’s especially true when the abuse doesn’t leave a mark.
By Yesica Prado, Freelance writer and photographer
In the last 13 years, the U.S. Department of Interior has actively reviewed applications for acknowledgement of only 18 tribes, even as hundreds remain in line. The Public Press has identified more than 400 tribes seeking federal recognition and is working to confirm that 200 others with publicly listed applications are genuine.
Many have been waiting for decades. The Death Valley TimbiSha Shoshone Band is the only California tribe that has been recognized in the 44 years since the federal acknowledgement process was established.
Nine years after becoming the first agency in the nation to legalize ride-hailing — and after thousands of publicized sexual assaults on Uber and Lyft rides — the California Public Utilities Commission for the first time is requiring the industry to adopt comprehensive measures to prevent such attacks.
In a previously unreported vote last month, the commission issued a decision requiring that all ride-hailing firms train drivers to avoid sexual assault and harassment, adopt procedures for investigating complaints and use uniform terminology in their annual reports to the agency so it can accurately monitor them.
While not all California judges are sympathetic to the stories of intimate partners who claim emotional abuse, and some even exhibit misogynistic conduct, others have shown an interest in using new legal tools to give the benefit of the doubt to people who say they are victims.
In a Los Angeles-area case, a judge acknowledged the evolving understanding of domestic violence to include psychological abuse, and extensively cited the state’s new coercive control law in his ruling.
Blanca suffered decades of psychological abuse from her husband, whose behaviors fall under a category of abuse sociologists and family law experts call coercive control.
Under a California law passed in 2020, the government is finally offering some acknowledgment of the harm she experienced. But the reform applies only in civil court — and can be used only in limited types of cases.
Roughly two years, multiple eviction moratoriums and over $3.6 billion in rent-relief payments after tenant advocates began worrying COVID-19 hardships would push thousands of renters out of their homes in San Francisco and elsewhere, California policy interventions aimed at preventing evictions are poised to end.
Barring an eleventh-hour postponement by lawmakers (not out of the question, given three previous last-minute extensions), California’s eviction protections expire June 30. Among those vulnerable to being forced from their homes are more than 135,000 tenants whose applications for rent relief have been denied, and thousands more whose applications may be denied in the future or not processed by the time protections are lifted.
In a broad victory for government transparency, an appeals court has ruled that the California Public Utilities Commission must comply with a state law requiring all agencies to promptly release information to the public.
In a unanimous decision issued Friday, a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the commission’s lengthy and open-ended administrative procedures violate the strict timelines of the California Public Records Act.
The ruling could bring more accountability to the commission, which has faced criticism of excessive secrecy and ineffectiveness, advocates said. It regulates corporations ranging from utilities to ride-hailing services.