22nd & Mission building will likely be demolished
The approximately 60 tenants displaced by the four-alarm fire at 22nd and Mission streets on Jan. 28, 2015 might never be able to return to the Mission District. The building has been “red tagged” or slated for demolition by the city. If it is destroyed, the former residents will lose their “right to return” with rent control. District 9 Supervisor David Campos said he is exploring several options that might allow those displaced, who have been in temporary housing ever since, to return.
Homeless camps forced off of Division Street
The homeless encampments that sprouted up along Division Street weeks ago during the run up to the Super Bowl have been deemed a public health nuisance by the Department of Public Health, and were given a 72-hour notice to vacate on Tuesday, Feb. 22. However, the city allegedly began to clear out some of the camps less than 24 hours after the notices were physically posted along Division Street. Mayor Ed Lee has said he would like to move the homeless to a new shelter at Pier 80, but the 25 spots available are not nearly enough to accommodate all of the displaced individuals.
Former CA Senator Leland Yee sentenced to 5 years
Disgraced former state senator and former San Francisco supervisor Leland Yee was sentenced to five years in federal prison on Feb. 24. He had already pleaded guilty to racketeering and arms trafficking following a lengthy federal investigation that began with now-convicted Chinatown gang leader Raymond “Shrimp Boy” Chow. Yee, who was also fined $20,000, will begin his sentence in 30 days.
Face recognition technology introduced at U.S.-Mexico border
In a new attempt to crackdown on forged documents and people overstaying their visas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a pilot program of screening pedestrians crossing the border into Mexico from Otay Mesa in the United States. A high tech method known as “biometrics” (which examines a combination of fingerprints, irises and “facial bone structure”) will be used to document all non-U.S. citizens ages 14 to 79. Anyone found to have overstayed their visa will be processed on a case-by-case basis according to the CBP.
Voting laws could keep many Latinos from voting
With the presidential primaries underway, civil rights organizations are concerned that the rash of restrictive laws passed in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to gut the Voting Rights Act might disenfranchise would-be minority voters. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) says the biggest challenge for the 27 million eligible Latino voters is finding out how to register and where to vote. “Folks are just not getting the information about how to register, where to register or how to find out if they are registered,” said Arturo Vargas, NALEO’s executive director.
Undocumented immigrants contribute billions in taxes
A recent study from the Institution of Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. pay more than $11.6 billion in state and local taxes annually. The report, which was released Feb. 24, also found that this contribution would increase by $800 billion if the president’s 2014 executive actions on immigration are allowed to move forward, and by an estimated more than $2 billion if there were comprehensive immigration reform.