Category Archives: Bay Area

Was the Kate Steinle Verdict the New OJ? | Dec 04 2017

Not guilty verdict in shooting by illegal immigrant offers sanctuary from common sense

|| LA Daily News  |  Doug McIntyre

“As a rule, I don’t offer opinions about books I haven’t read and movies I haven’t seen. I feel the same way about trials I haven’t followed. I mean really followed, the way the whole country hung on every twist in the O.J. Simpson case.

Last week, a jury in San Francisco acquitted Jose Ines Garcia Zararte of murder in the 2015 shooting of Kate Steinle. While I was aware the trial was taking place, I wasn’t in the courtroom when the prosecution and defense teams made their arguments. I didn’t read transcripts of the witnesses’ testimony, only cursory news reports that would occasionally catch my eye. Still, I was predisposed to believe Zarate guilty.

It’s fortunate for Mr. Zarate I wasn’t on the jury.

To recap, on July 1, 2015, Jose Ines Garcia Zarate, an illegal immigrant with a history of arrests who had previously been deported 5 times, claims he found a gun wrapped in cloth under a bench along the waterfront in San Francisco. The gun went off/was fired — depending on which version of his story you believe — striking 32-year old Kate Steinle in the lower back. The bullet tore through Kate’s abdominal aorta, ending her life.

Surveillance video led police to Zarate, then going by the name of Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, one of several aliases he used. The Steinle case blew up in the media not just because Kate was a beautiful young woman struck down in broad daylight while walking with her dad, but also because it shoved the disaster of San Francisco’s sanctuary policies onto the front burner, an issue that helped propel Donald Trump to the White House.

Zarate was eligible for a 6th deportation at the time of the shooting. Had then-San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirarimi held him for deportation, as Immigration and Customs Enforcement has requested, he would not have been sitting on that bench to find a gun or anything else.

Zarate told investigators the gun went off accidentally when it fell to the ground after he unwrapped it. Then he changed his story, telling police he stepped on the gun, causing it to go off. But his story changed yet again; this time he admitted he fired the gun but said he was aiming at a seal.

What’s not in dispute is Zarate tossing the gun into San Francisco Bay before running from the scene.

During the trial, it was revealed the bullet that killed Ms. Steinle ricocheted 12-feet from where Zarate stood and struck Kate 78 feet away. This makes it highly unlikely Zarate was deliberately aiming at Kate and may well have led to the not guilty verdict.

By centering their case around the theory Zarate was playing a perverse game of Russian Roulette — firing randomly at passersby — the prosecutors may have overplayed their hand and undermined their credibility with the jury.

Still, the judge had given the jurors the option of finding him guilty of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Amazingly, or perhaps not if you consider we’re talking about San Francisco, they only found Zarate guilty on a minor gun charge.

Jose Garcia Zarate’s immigration status and previous arrests were never introduced as evidence in this case. “Nothing about his immigration status, nothing about the fact that he is born in Mexico had any relevance as to what happened on July 1st, 2015”, said his defense attorney.

And that’s true to a point.

But there is another point — if San Francisco had turned Zarate over to ICE as requested, Kate Steinle would be alive today.

If San Francisco didn’t advertise, literally, on bus benches and public transit, they’re a sanctuary city, Jose Zarate may not have chosen San Francisco as his American destination.

“We just want to get this over with and move on with our lives,” said Kate’s father, Jim, after the jury’s verdict was announced. “We want to think about Kate on our terms. Nothing’s been on our terms. It’s been on everyone else’s terms.”

And, of course, he’s right. Kate Steinle’s death became a political football in the 2016 presidential election and remains so to this day. Sadly, Kate is hardly the only victim of illegal immigrant violence.

In Los Angeles, some of us will never forget the 2008 murder of Jamiel Shaw II by a convicted gangbanger, Pedro Espinosa, who had been behind bars 24 hours before killing Shaw. I will never forget introducing Jamiel’s dad to Danielle Bologna, whose husband and two sons were also murdered by an illegal immigrant in San Francisco.

Or Don Rosenberg whose son, Drew, was run down and killed by Roberto Gallo, then living and driving illegally in the City by the Bay. The list of the dead is far too long for this column.

Kate Steinle’s death furrowed Don Lemon’s brow on CNN as he tried to comprehend the strange term “sanctuary city,” as if he had never heard it before, but those of us in Los Angeles have had 39 years’ experience with sanctuary policies, ever since Special Order 40 was implemented by the LAPD back in 1979.  Proponents claim it makes America safer. Tell that to Jim Steinle.

ICE will once again attempt to deport Jose Garcia Zarate. Will San Francisco cooperate this time? And if so, how long before he’s back in the United States, thanks to our porous borders and the unwillingness of cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles to enforce our own laws?”
….Continue reading more @ LA Daily News

 

Arson the Cause in NorCal Firestorms? | Oct 18 2017

ICE Detainer Issued for Suspected Wine Country Arsonist in Sonoma Jail

|| Breitbart

“The U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) issued a detainer request on the Sonoma County Jail for Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, who was arrested Sunday on suspicion of arson in Wine Country fires that have killed at least 40 residents.

Breitbart News reported earlier this week that Sonoma County Sheriffs had arrested Jesus Fabian Gonzalez, 29, at Maxwell Regional Park in Sonoma County after a series of reports of ongoing fires in the region. Mr. Gonzalez was observed around 3:00 p.m. PDT wearing a jacket and walking “out of the creek area and a plume of smoke behind him,” according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.

Mr. Gonzalez, who is homeless and reportedly known by law enforcement to have been living under a nearby bridge, claimed he was cold and had lit the fire to stay warm. But it was a balmy 78 degrees when he and the plume of smoke were first observed.

Mr. Gonzalez was booked into the Sonoma County Jail for suspicion of felony arson. His bail was set at a steep $110,000, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff Public Information Officer.

Sargent Spencer Crum told Breitbart that Mr. Gonzalez is also on a U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) detainer request, despite Sonoma County declaring itself as a “sanctuary county” in May 2014. The county only cooperates with “ICE holds” if the prisoner has been convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor offence that falls within the Trust Act within the last five years. Mr. Gonzalez’s immigration status has not yet been announced.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

“FBI uncovered Russian bribery plot before Obama administration approved controversial nuclear deal with Moscow

|| The Hill

“Before the Obama administration approved a controversial deal in 2010 giving Moscow control of a large swath of American uranium, the FBI had gathered substantial evidence that Russian nuclear industry officials were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion and money laundering designed to grow Vladimir Putin’s atomic energy business inside the United States, according to government documents and interviews.

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

In 2011, the administration gave approval for Rosatom’s Tenex subsidiary to sell commercial uranium to U.S. nuclear power plants in a partnership with the United States Enrichment Corp. Before then, Tenex had been limited to selling U.S. nuclear power plants reprocessed uranium recovered from dismantled Soviet nuclear weapons under the 1990s Megatons to Megawatts peace program.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.”

….Continue reading more @ The Hill

 

Gregg Jarrett: Mueller and Rosenstein Hid Clinton-Russia Bribery Scandal From Congress

|| theGatewayPundit

“It was reported earlier today that the FBI uncovered Russian bribery of the Clintons in 2009 and the Department of Justice and the FBI sat on this for four more years.

Worse yet, from today’s report we discovered the investigation was supervised by then-U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who is now President Trump’s Deputy Attorney General, and then-Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who is now the deputy FBI director under Trump.

Rosenstein and Mueller also sat on the CFIUS committee that approved the sale of 20% of US uranium reserves to Russia despite knowing Russia had bribed the Clintons for the illicit sale.

This further tarnishes this respected organization’s good name.

Tonight Gregg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that corrupt Robert Mueller and Rod Rosenstein must resign immediately.”

….Continue reading more @ TGP

Facebook Has the Highest Percentage of H-1B’s of any High Tech Company in U.S. | Apr 20, 2017

Reuters: 15% of Facebook Employees on H-1B Visas

|| Breitbart

“Reuters has found that more than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. staff are immigrants employed through H-1B temporary work visas.

Based on a review of U.S. Labor Department filings for 2016 regarding temporary visa programs, Reuters found 3,339 workers of approximately 22,000 Facebook employees working in the U.S. were employed directly through H-1B temporary visas.

At over 15 percent, Facebook had the highest percentage of H-1B contractors of any U.S. tech operating company.

Breitbart News has reported that although there are only new 85,000 H-1B temporary visas granted by the U.S. State Department each year, there are about 650,000 H-1Bs working in the American private sector, roughly 100,000 H-1Bs employed at U.S. universities, and an unknown number of H-1B spouses issued green card work permits.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart

 

15% of Facebook employees are vulnerable to Trump’s likely changes for H-1B visas

|| VentureBeat.com

“(Reuters) – Among Silicon Valley’s top tech employers, Facebook could be the most vulnerable to U.S. President Donald Trump’s expected crackdown on guest-worker visas, according to a Reuters analysis of U.S. Labor Department filings.

More than 15 percent of Facebook’s U.S. employees in 2016 used a temporary work visa, giving the social media leader a legal classification as a H-1B “dependent” company. That is a higher proportion than Alphabet ‘s Google, Apple, Amazon, or Microsoft.

That could cause problems for Facebook if Trump or Congress decide to make the H-1B program more restrictive, as the president and some Republican lawmakers have threatened to do.

Both Trump and Attorney General nominee Senator Jeff Sessions have opposed the program in its current form. They have also indicated that they are open to reforming it to “ensure the beneficiaries of the program are the best and the brightest,” according to a draft executive order seen by Reuters. Reuters could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the draft.

The Trump administration has not proposed any new rules that would target companies with the H-1B “dependent” classification. But the fact that Facebook alone among major tech companies falls into that category suggests it is the most exposed in the industry to any changes in H-1B visa policy.

Facebook declined to comment on the matter.

Companies say they use them to recruit top talent. But a majority of the visas are awarded to outsourcing firms, sparking criticism by skeptics that those firms use the visas to fill lower-level information technology jobs. Critics also say the lottery system benefits outsourcing firms that flood the system with mass applications.

H-1B dependent status is mostly held by these outsourcing firms such as India’s Tata Consultancy Services or Infosys. The status was introduced in the late 1990s in an effort to ensure that companies did not use the visas to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. The status requires companies to prove they cannot find U.S. workers for the jobs.”

….Continue reading more @ VentureBeat

 

Facebook Will Let Workers Join Glorious May Day Protests

|| Bloomberg Tech

“Facebook Inc. said it won’t punish employees who take time off to join pro-immigrant protests on May 1. And, in a nod to security staff, janitors, shuttle-bus drivers and others who work for Facebook contractors on campus, the company also said it will investigate if any of its vendors illegally crack down on their employees’ protest rights.

“At Facebook, we’re committed to fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions and speaking up,” a spokesman wrote in an emailed statement. “We support our people in recognizing International Workers’ Day and other efforts to raise awareness for safe and equitable employment conditions.”

Facebook notified employees of its policy in a posting on an internal forum April 14. A spokesman said it applies regardless of whether workers notify the company ahead of time. The Menlo Park, California, company also said it would re-evaluate its ties to any vendor if it breaks the law that protects workers’ rights to organize and protect themselves.

“It’s important not just to the engineers and H-1B holders that are traditionally thought of as the immigrants in tech but also to folks who are subcontracted but work side-by-side on those campuses,” said Derecka Mehrens, co-founder of Silicon Valley Rising, a union-backed coalition. “Immigrants play a critical role in the tech sector — both as engineers and coders but also in keeping tech campuses running smoothly.”

Many tech companies have been vocal in their opposition to aspects of Trump’s agenda. Facebook has criticized Trump’s immigration moves. At a rally in January at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin spoke against Trump’s executive order that closed U.S. borders to people from several majority-Muslim nations. Both companies, along with Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., are among more than 120 firms that signed a February court filing opposing the travel ban.”

…Continue reading @ Bloomberg

 

|| Spectator.org

“An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).”

….Continue reading more @ Spectator.org

 

Wellesley Students Editors Endorse Silencing Opposing Speakers and Declare “Hostility May Be Warranted”

|| JonathanTurley.org

“We have been discussing the erosion of free speech on our campuses across the country.  Much of that trend is the result of faculty members who have taught that free speech itself is a threat to students.  The erosion of free speech has come in stages.  First, schools began to declare speech to be hate speech while creating “safe zones” from the exercise of free speech.  Second, schools began to enforce the ill-defined “microaggressions” to punish speech that is deemed as contributing to hostile environments or fostering stereotypes.

Now, faculty and students are increasing declaring opposing views as simply outside of the definition of free speech. That extreme argument was advanced this week by the editors of The Wellesley News who published a column entitled “Free Speech Is Not Violated At Wellesley.”  It is chilling message from the Editorial Board composed of Co-Editors in Chief Sharvari Johari and Michele Lee and opinion editors Maya Nandakumar, Genae Matthews, and Tabitha Wilson.  Once the champions of free speech, students have become the new censors and have adopted the perfectly Orwellian notion that the protection of free speech requires the denial of free speech.

The editors heralded the Wellesley students who refuse to respect the free speech rights of those deemed to be hateful.  Simply defining such people as unworthy of free speech protections then allows the editors to become actual advocates of mob action to silence them:

“Shutting down rhetoric that undermines the existence and rights of others is not a violation of free speech; it is hate speech. The founding fathers put free speech in the Constitution as a way to protect the disenfranchised and to protect individual citizens from the power of the government.”

So speech deemed as “undermining the existence and rights of others” is all that is needed to relieve the conscience of these students and allow them to indulge in their desire to forcibly silence those with whom that disagree.  There is no attempt of course to define what constitute speech that “undermines.” Rather the thrust is to legitimize the denial of free speech in the name of free speech.

Their bizarre understanding of free speech is laid out further in the statement that “The spirit of free speech is to protect the suppressed, not to protect a free-for-all where anything is acceptable, no matter how hateful and damaging.”  Again, there is no definition of what is deemed “hateful” or “damaging” but it clearly does not include things that the editors agree with or have been taught are the products of ignorance: “We have all said problematic claims, the origins of which were ingrained in us by our discriminatory and biased society. Luckily, most of us have been taught by our peers and mentors at Wellesley in a productive way.

Now that the editors have been properly educated that some views are unworthy of protection, they are ready to take the final step in calling for the silencing of those who “refuse to adapt their beliefs.”  If those people still insist on being heard, the editors declared that “hostility may be warranted.”  “Hostility”?

The war on free speech appears to have produced a perfect generation of petty tyrants “mentored” in the necessity — even the moral imperative — of silencing those with whom we disagree.

I suppose this is to be expected at a school with the motto: Non Ministrari sed Ministrare — Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.

….Continue reading more @ JonathanTurley.org

 

Mario Savio: Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964 Berkeley California

|| Youtube

So UC Davis Now Doesn’t Need the U.S. Flag in their Student Senate? | Apr 18, 2017

More California Insanity

“As I write this, California is still part of America. The U.S. Constitution protects the rights of Americans who live in California. The military troops of America would defend California if necessary. However, it seems as if some Californians have forgotten that they are Americans.

Yesterday Fox News reported that the University of California-Davis‘ student senate voted to allow the Stars & Stripes to be removed from its meetings. I wonder how much federal money supports the University of California-Davis. Would they notice if that money were gone?

The article reports:

Writing that “patriotism is different for every individual,” the student senate made the appearance of the flag optional.

Pete Hegseth pointed out that the senate appeared to say that there would be instances where the flag’s presence was inappropriate.

“We’ve got patriotism triggering people now,” Campus Reform reporter Cabot Phillips remarked.

In a statement, Student Senator Jose Antonio Meneses further clarified that the flag was not banned from meetings, but only had its mandated presence lifted.

Phillips said the vote was not an isolated incident, recalling a situation in New Mexico where a student was forced to remove a flag from his dormitory window.

What have we taught our children? Can America stand as a nation if its children are not even willing to tolerate or display its flag? Do the students realize that the flag was part of the freedom that allowed them to get an education and hold their meeting? It is time to start teaching the history and blessings of America in our schools. Obviously some of our students do not understand how fortunate they are to be here.”

….Continue reading more @ RightwingGranny.com

 

Antifa Rioters Use Explosives M-80’s in Downtown Berkeley to protest Free Speech | Apr 16, 2017

Chaos in Berkeley Antifa v. Free Speech Rally

| Youtube | TimCast

….The Berkeley wedgie.

…Antifa get chased out of town while throwing M-80s.

 

…Summary and more @ Youtube

 

Bloody Clashes As Trump Protesters, Supporters Exchange Blows At Berkeley Rally

| KPIX

 

Family of Slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry Says Eric Holder Among ‘The Real Criminals’ Responsible

| Breitbart

“The 2010 murder of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry by a 7-time previously deported illegal alien could have been prevented, says the agent’s brother Kent Terry in an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas. Terry’s family hopes the Trump Administration will now go after “the real criminals” responsible for putting the “Fast and Furious” guns in the accused killer’s hands.

A task force including Mexican law enforcement officials, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents and U.S. Border Patrol Border Patrol BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) agents arrested accused killer Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes, in Mexico earlier this week, Breitbart Texas reported. Court records obtained by Breitbart Texas stated immigration officials deported Osorio-Arellanes seven times before he returned illegally on December 14, 2010, as part of a Mexican bandit “rip crew.” The accused killer of Agent Terry opened fire on the BORSTAR team in southern Arizona that had been dispatched to find the “rip crew” which had been robbing other drug and human smuggling convoys in the area.”

…..Continue reading more @ Breitbart

Berkeley Runs Riot as Antifa Tries to Shut Down Free Speech Rally in Berkeley | Apr 15, 2017

Bloody brawls erupt at Trump rallies in Berkeley

| NY Post

“BERKELEY, Calif. — At least four people were arrested after violence broke out Saturday between groups of supporters and detractors of President Donald Trump holding rallies in downtown Berkeley.

About 200 people were at Berkeley’s Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park when several fights broke out. Dozens of police officers in riot gear standing nearby quickly arrested one man. Others were arrested after several skirmishes.

Trump supporters announced they were holding a “Patriot Day” at the park at noon. Counter-demonstrators then said they would hold a rally at the same place at 10 a.m.

Police put in a makeshift barrier of plastic orange poles and orange fence mesh to separate both sides, but that quickly came down as demonstrators started punching and kicking each other, while pepper spray and firecrackers were thrown to the crowd.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that after the barriers was put back in place, demonstrators shouted at each other from a distance.”

….Continue more reading @ NY Post

 

Chaos in Berkeley Antifa V. Free Speech Rally

| Youtube

….More @ Youtube | Tim Pool

 

Hundreds of Trump supporters and counter-protesters clash at Berkeley rally

| LA Times

“Hundreds of pro-Trump demonstrators and counter-protesters clashed Saturday at a “Patriots Day” rally in Berkeley, the third time the two groups engaged in violent confrontations on city streets in recent months.

Fist fights broke out among members of both groups on the streets around Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where pro-Trump supporters had scheduled a rally. Fireworks and smoke bombs were thrown into the crowd, and a few demonstrators were doused with pepper spray.

….Continue reading more @ LA Times

 

Arrests made as protesters clash at pro-Trump rally in Berkeley

| SF Gate

“Violence broke out and more than a dozen arrests were made in Berkeley Saturday as supporters and opponents of President Trump clashed.

The dueling groups gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park, where hundreds of people on each side were separated by a makeshift orange barrier. Several fights broke out even before the noon start of the pro-Trump rally and at least one unidentified person fired pepper spray into the crowd.

By early afternoon, Berkeley police said 13 people had been arrested and officers had seized what was described as contraband. Dozens of officers in riot gear monitored the volatile demonstrations.

By noon, most of the anti-Trump protesters emptied onto Allston Way, bordering the park. The pro-Trump demonstrators stayed in the park, where people in the opposing groups threw soda cans at each other. Minutes later, the makeshift barrier dividing the sides snapped, and a huge brawl broke out as both sides began punching and kicking each other.

BART closed the downtown Berkeley station at about 1:20 p.m., citing a “civil disturbance.” It reopened at about 4:30 p.m.

Trump protesters, waving red-and-black anarchy flags, marched around the park, periodically stopping to clash with the Trump supporters.

At one point, hundreds of pro- and anti-Trump activists marched up Center Street toward Shattuck Avenue, leaving bloody and bruised participants in their wake.

As the crowd of protesters spilled farther away from the park toward Shattuck, the fighting intensified. Another group of mainly anti-Trump demonstrators marched down Center Street toward the UC Berkeley campus.

Ben Bergquam of Fresno emerged from the crowd with blood streaming down his face. He held a crumpled “Stop Liberal Intolerance” sign in his hand.

“I got hit in the back of the head with some sticks,” he said as another activist wrapped gauze around his wound. “I don’t agree with everything Trump says, but I don’t agree with violence.”

Nearby, others gathered around a man who was lying in the grass, blood flowing from his head.

“He knows his name, he knows what day it is,” a protester said as another called for medical help.

Lincoln Smith, a 45-year-old man who came to show solidarity against Trump, acknowledged that some of the attendees were overly intense, including a woman who had accused him of being a Trump supporter because he was wearing red shoelaces.”

….Continue reading more @ SF Gate

 

 

Tech Workers barely get by in Silicon Valley’s wealth bubble | Mar 01, 2017

Scraping by on six figures? Tech workers feel poor in Silicon Valley’s wealth bubble

– Guardian UK

Big tech companies pay some of the country’s best salaries. But workers claim the high cost of living in the Bay Area has them feeling financially strained

didn’t become a software engineer to be trying to make ends meet,” said a Twitter employee in his early 40s who earns a base salary of $160,000. It is, he added, a “pretty bad” income for raising a family in the Bay Area.

The biggest cost is his $3,000 rent – which he said was “ultra cheap” for the area – for a two-bedroom house in San Francisco, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He’d like a slightly bigger property, but finds himself competing with groups of twentysomethings happy to share accommodation while paying up to $2,000 for a single room.

“Families are priced out of the market,” he said, adding that family-friendly cafes and restaurants have slowly been replaced by “hip coffee shops”.

Silicon Valley’s latest tech boom, combined with a housing shortage, has caused rents to soar over the last five years. The city’s rents, by one measure, are now the highest in the world.

The prohibitive costs have displaced teachers, city workers, firefighters and other members of the middle class, not to mention low-income residents.

Now techies, many of whom are among the highest 1% of earners, are complaining that they, too, are being priced out.

The Twitter employee said he hit a low point in early 2014 when the company changed its payroll schedule, leaving him with a hole in his budget. “I had to borrow money to make it through the month.”

He was one of several tech workers, earning between $100,000 and $700,000 a year, who vented to the Guardian about their financial situation. Almost all of them spoke only on the condition of anonymity, or agreed only to give their first names, fearing retribution by their employers for speaking publicly about their predicament.

‘The American dream is not working out here’

Complaints from well-compensated tech workers will sound like chutzpah to many of the other 99% who are struggling to get by on a fraction of their income. But there appears to be a growing frustration among tech workers who say that they are struggling to get by.

Facebook engineers last year even raised the issue with founder Mark Zuckerberg, asking whether the company could subsidize their rents to make their living situation more affordable, according to an executive at the company who has since departed.

The cost of housing is a common complaint among Bay Area techies. Engineers can expect, according to one analysis, to pay between 40% and 50% of their salary renting an apartment near work.

One Apple employee was recently living in a Santa Cruz garage, using a compost bucket as a toilet. Another tech worker, enrolled in a coding bootcamp, described how he lived with 12 other engineers in a two-bedroom apartment rented via Airbnb. “It was $1,100 for a fucking bunk bed and five people in the same room. One guy was living in a closet, paying $1,400 for a ‘private room’.”

“We make over $1m between us, but we can’t afford a house,” said a woman in her 50s who works in digital marketing for a major telecoms corporation, while her partner works as an engineer at a digital media company. “This is part of where the American dream is not working out here.

Another tech worker feeling excluded from the real estate market was 41-year-old Michael, who works at a networking firm in Silicon Valley and last year earned $700,000. Sick of his 22-mile commute to work, which can sometimes take up to two and half hours, he explored buying a property nearer work.

“We went to an open house in Los Gatos that would shorten my commute by eight miles. It was 1,700 sq ft and listed at $1.4m. It sold in 24 hours for $1.7m,” he said.

Although he said his salary means he can afford to live a decent life, he finds the cost of living, combined with the terrible commute, unpalatable. He’s had enough, and has accepted a 50% pay cut to relocate to San Diego.

“We will be unequivocally better off than we are now.” He said he won’t miss some of the more mundane day-to-day costs, like spending $8 on a bagel and coffee or $12 on freshly pressed juice.

Michael isn’t the only tech worker considering leaving Silicon Valley in search of a better life. A Canadian IT specialist in his late 40s, earning more than $200,000, has a similar plan. “When I came to the Bay Area the amount of money they were going to pay me seemed absurd,” he said. However, the cost of rent and childcare, which cost “more than I paid for my university education in Canada”, has been hard to swallow.

Sam, 40, lives with his wife and three kids in San Jose, earning around $120,000 a year at a multinational software company. “I get paid a very good wage, but I have three kids, childcare is ridiculously expensive so my wife mostly takes care of them,” he said.

He feels pressure being the sole breadwinner. “I’ve got no safety net,” he said. “I have credit cards, but this is not sustainable. If something bad happened I’d be out of the house in a month.”

…..Continue reading @ the Guardian

 

UC San Francisco Lays Off IT Workers, Jobs Head To India

– OANN

Kurt Ho, 58, (L), a systems administrator at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) poses for a photo with some of the 49 IT workers laid off by UCSF, which has hired an Indian company to do their work, in San Francisco, California, U.S., February 28, 2017. REUTERS/Rory Carroll

“SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – The University of California, San Francisco on Tuesday laid off 49 information technology (IT) employees and outsourced their work to a company based in India, ending a year-long process that has brought the public university under fire.

The university announced the plan last July as a way to save $30 million over five years. The University of California system, which includes health care and research-focused UCSF, has been struggling to raise revenue and cut expenses.

Globalization and outsourcing have become hot-button political issues in the United States, as more employers cut costs by farming out work to low-cost workers in far-flung parts of the world. President Donald Trump campaigned on promises to restore lost U.S. jobs and to penalize companies that move factories overseas.

This was the University of California’s first outsourcing, said a spokeswoman who added that the layoffs were necessary due to rising costs of technology. In addition to the 49 staff layoffs, another 48 positions that were vacant or filled by contractors were eliminated.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein last year said the university had a responsibility to keep jobs in the United States and pledged to seek reforms to stop domestic jobs being outsourced.

Kurt Ho, 58, a laid off systems administrator, carried a box of his personal items with an American flag draped over it, and said the university’s decision will hurt service for a medical staff that relies on a smoothly running and secure computer network.

“It’s a downgrading of services and a slap in the face for the customers,” said Ho, who has worked in IT in the Bay Area for 25 years. He said he plans to look for a job but worries that outsourcing of IT services is a growing trend.

Last year UCSF entered into a $50 million contract over five years with India-based HCL Technologies Ltd to do the work.”

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