por Juliet Blalack
The City of Pacifica re-opened four beaches Friday. City officials decided to close all beaches on Tuesday, after public works employees found tar balls on Esplande Beach. Since then, Cosco Busan contractors cleaned Esplande and employees from the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Fish and Game, and the Pacifica public works department inspected the beach, according to a city press release. For updates, visit http://www.co.sanmateo.ca.us.
San Francisco schools encourage literacy and athletic opportunities
Over 150 volunteers helped the California Dictionary Project (CDP) give about 4,500 dictionaries to San Francisco third graders, according to a school district press release.
“At third grade, we want to see our students reading for understanding. Having easy access to a dictionary and the skills to use it will make a big difference,” said San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia.
Meanwhile, the Special Olympics of Northern California and SFUSD introduced new opportunities for disabled students to compete in athletics. Students at ten schools are training for a soccer league.
“They look forward to it every single day, and they are picking up life and social skills that they might not be able to get in the classroom,” said special education teacher Brian Friedman.
Prayers for Berkeley tree-sitters end in police brutality
Police officers violently arrested three protestors after 40 people offered food, water, tobacco, and prayers to tree-sitters on Nov. 14.
The tree-sitters have been protesting UC Berkeley’s plans to expand a stadium.
Jimbo Simmons of the International Indian Treaty Council said the area the tree-sitters are shielding from development is a sacred Ohlone burial site.
Earlier the day of the arrests, UC Berkeley police said no one could bring food, water, or objects to the tree sitters.
When one of the tree-sitters came down from his post, a police officer shoved his face into a metal fence, according to a press release.
More officers arrived in riot gear, and used batons on the crowd. They injured a journalist’s finger and arrested two more protestors.
The night before, one of the original tree-sitters were arrested on what some activists say are false charges.
Activists discourage shoppers from entering chain stores About 35 activists stationed outside of Westfield mall held up signs urging shoppers to boycott chain stores last Saturday, according to global exchange organizers.
“If people value their local communities, they should spend their holiday dollars at locally owned, independent stores and try to buy Fair Trade, organic and green,” said Ruben Garcia of Global Exchange.
Activists also handed out flyers to people who inquired about the protest.
Senate Democrats discuss legislation to help homeowners
Democratic senators shared their plans to address the proliferation of foreclosures last Thursday.
“The FHA Modernization Act of 2007 bill makes safe, long-term FHA loans more readily available,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
“We have secured $200 million in the Transportation HUD appropriations conference report for foreclosure-prevention counseling, but the President has threatened to veto this legislation,” he added.
Latinos are particularly affected by homeownership issues. From subprime loans made in 2005, there will be 110,674 foreclosures for Latinos and 98,025 foreclosures for African Americans, according to the Center for Responsible Lending’s estimates. The Latino homeownership rate lags behind at 50%, while white homeownership is at 75%, according to the U.S. Census.