Building Trade Council opposes housing project
For the first time in 10 years the Building Trades Council, a confederation of more than 20 construction-related unions in San Francisco, has publicly come out against a new housing development. The so-called “Beast on Bryant” would turn an entire block of Bryant Street (between 18th and 19th streets) into 274 units of luxury housing. The opposition to the Bryant Street project represents an abrupt change of direction for an organization that typically supports large-scale construction projects in San Francisco.
San Francisco public high school to create LGBT studies course
The first-ever LGBT studies course for San Francisco public high schools has been created and will be introduced this fall. According to Lyndsey Schlax, who developed the curriculum, the course will be divided into three parts: basic terminology, identity and history of LGBT leaders and the AIDs epidemic in the 1980s. “This course will build understanding and compassion that in every case serves us all,” Brian Kohn, principal at Ruth Asawa School of Fine Arts, wrote in a letter to the San Francisco Examiner.
Lowrider Magazine founder has died
Mario “Sonny” Madrid, the San Jose native who founded the popular Lowrider Magazine in 1977 while studying at San Jose State, succumbed to cancer on June 22, after a two-year battle with the disease. He was 70. According to Irene Morales, one of Madrid’s sisters, he launched the magazine, which quickly achieved a circulation of 100,000 across the South West, with a $4,000 loan from their mother. Through Lowrider Magazine, Madrid sought to connect disparate lowrider communities in the West and to promote lowrider culture.
NBC dumps Trump over racist remarks
The fallout from Donald Trump’s racist remarks against Mexicans continues. A Republican presidential candidate for 2016, Trump recently accused Mexican immigrants of being rapists who bring crime and drugs to the United States. Univision, which aired the Trump-backed Miss America Pageant in Spanish, immediately cut ties with the presidential hopeful. And now NBC, the home of Trump’s show, The Apprentice, has announced in a press release that it will do the same. Trump stood by his comments in a recent statement calling them “accurate.”
Dominican Republic deports citizens of Haitian descent
The Dominican government is engaging in mass deportation of thousands of Haitian immigrants as well as their children who were born in the Dominican Republic. Haitian immigrants, who cross the border to work in the sugar cane fields, were historically discriminated against and even massacred by the Dominican despotic dictator Rafael Trujillo in the 1930s. The Dominican government’s actions sparked international outcry, which led to a slight alteration in policy that will give Haitian children whose births were in the civil registry the chance to obtain citizenship. The new policy is scheduled to go into effect next year.
Puerto Rico facing debt crisis
Puerto Rico Governor Alejandro García Padilla announced that the island commonwealth is unable to make $1 billion in payments and risks defaulting on its $72 billion debt. “The debt is not payable. This is not politics, this is math,” García Padilla said in an interview with the New York Times. With default looming, the governor and legislators are trying to decide what measures should be taken, including the creation of a new sales tax of 11.5 percent (the highest of any U.S. state) effective July 1. Because of its status as a U.S. territory, Puerto Rico cannot legally file for bankruptcy.
U.S., Cuba announce embassies
In December 2014 President Obama announced that the United States would re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba and as of July 1 it’s official. The two countries have reached an agreement and on July 20 are scheduled to open embassies on each other’s soil for the first time in 54 years. The trade embargo against remains intact, but the president is hopeful that it will eventually be lifted as well. “Nobody expects Cuba to be changed overnight, but I believe that American engagement through our embassy, our businesses and most of all through our people is the best way to advance our interests in support for democracy and human rights,” Obama said.