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Latinos in This Liberal City: From San Francisco’s Big Strike to Gay Liberation

Years before charting the evolution and diversity of Latino political life in the city, a historian came here to become an activist. His book recalls major battlegrounds from the 1930s to the 1970s: union campaigns; civil rights organizing; elections; Great Society mobilizations; and feminist, gay and lesbian activism. Read an excerpt from “Latinos and the Liberal City” by Eduardo Contreras.

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Why Privacy Needs All of Us

One American city has gone further than any other in creating a workable solution to the current inadequacy of surveillance law: Oakland, which has pushed a pro-privacy public policy along an unprecedented path. Its Privacy Advisory Commission acts as a meaningful check on city agencies — most often, police — that want to acquire any kind of surveillance technology.

Proposition N: Enabling Non-Citizen Parents to Vote in School Board Elections

This Charter amendment would allow non-citizen parents, legal guardians and caregivers of children 18 years old or younger who reside in San Francisco to vote for school board candidates. These new voters, who would register with the city’s Department of Elections, would need to be at least 18 years old and not be otherwise disqualified from voting under the California Constitution or state statute.

Candidates: Sheriff

Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is facing two challengers in his bid for re-election: Vicki Hennessy, who spent three decades in the department and served as interim sheriff in 2012 (after Mayor Ed Lee suspended Mirkarimi over a domestic-violence case involving the new sheriff and his wife) and John Robinson, a retired sheriff’s commander.

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Without long-term support, human trafficking survivors at risk of re-exploitation

Some who flee captive labor conditions end up with low-wage jobs, insecure housing
People trafficked into the country receive temporary government and nonprofit social service benefits after rescue or flight from captivity: shelter, health care, counseling, employment and legal help. But once these benefits term out, counter-trafficking specialists worry that victims, who generally have little work experience and weak social and family networks, could fall back into labor conditions as exploitative as the ones they fled. As a victim of international labor trafficking, Lili Samad received government help to stay in the U.S. But she is among hundreds of trafficking survivors each year who end up, months after getting help trying to build a new life, living in marginal housing and working in low-wage jobs.

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Mien farmers cultivate their own garden in East Oakland

In the heart of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an incongruous reminder of California’s Mexican past: 6 acres of open space in a sea of single-family homes. What was once a massive ranchero now features a Victorian house surrounded by carefully tended vegetable gardens. Ben Glickstein is director of outreach here. He says back in 1820, Antonio Peralta had big agricultural dreams for this stretch of land that slopes down to Peralta Creek. “And we’re still using this for agriculture, for food, here in the middle of this pretty urban neighborhood.”