Stories you shouldn’t miss:
1. According to the US Census Bureau, 46.5 million Americans are living in poverty, or 15 percent of the country’s population, a near-generational high, the LA Times$ reports. It’s the second year in a row in which the nation’s poverty rate has stood at such a high level. The median household income nationwide was $51,017 last year — 8 .3 percent lower than in 2007, when adjusting for inflation. The bright side of the new report is that poverty did not worsen last year for the first time in several years.
2. The Obama administration announced that it has awarded Oakland a $4.5 million grant to hire and train ten police officers over a three-year period, the Trib reports. The announcement by federal officials and Mayor Jean Quan came as the city’s police force has dipped to 611 cops — down from a high of 837 in 2008 before the Great Recession decimated Oakland’s finances. OPD is planning to graduate a police academy later this week, which will also add 36 new officers to the force.
3. The San Francisco Police Department, meanwhile, launched a crackdown on chess playing by homeless people in the city’s Tenderloin district, the Chron reports. The crackdown marks the end of a thirty-year tradition of chess playing on Market Street.
4. The California building-construction industry is urging Governor Jerry Brown to veto a bill that would allow cities to require developers to help finance more affordable housing, UT San Diego reports (via Rough & Tumble). The legislation, AB 1229, would overturn a 2009 court ruling that barred cities from making developers help pay for affordable units. The building-construction industry contends that the bill would stifle development in the state.
5. And the state legislature failed to pass significant campaign finance reform legislation this year, including bills that would have boosted the power of state regulators, raised fines for campaign violations, and improved disclosure requirements, the LA Times$ reports. The legislation failed to garner any Republican support.