Bay Briefing: After Ghost Ship, artist warehouses are disappearing — but not for the reason you think
Good morning, Bay Area. It’s Monday, Aug. 12, and an unlikely culprit threatens to snap up all of Oakland’s affordable warehouse space, homeowners face growing wildfire mitigation costs, and legal work in California could still get you in trouble. Here’s what you need to know to start your day.
Smoke and fire
Nearly three years since the Ghost Ship fire, the scruffy, low-rent spaces that helped give Oakland its edge are slowly disappearing. Building inspectors shut some of them down in the panic after the blaze that engulfed a Fruitvale warehouse in December 2016, killing 36 people.
But others have succumbed to escalating real estate prices, driven in part by a cannabis market that’s taken over the whole industrial grid of East and West Oakland.
Reporters Rachel Swan and Sarah Ravani report on how the tension is playing out in one artist warehouse and why skeptics believe Oakland’s ordinance to bar cannabis businesses from operating in places previously used as homes may do little to shield its creative class from new economic pressures.
Another cost for homeowners
Rather than just drop customers in high wildfire hazard areas, some insurance companies are requiring homeowners to remove trees and perform other sometimes-costly mitigation work to keep their policies.
In some cases, they are demanding more than what local and state fire departments recommend, writes columnist Kathleen Pender. And over the past two years, the California Department of Insurance has seen a surge in complaints about renewal issues (mostly nonrenewals) from people in ZIP codes within counties designated by Cal Fire as having the highest wildfire risk.
More from Kathleen Pender: Mill Valley is about to approve one of the most aggressive vegetation-management ordinances in the state. Within a few years, it would require many homeowners to rip out beloved trees and plants for the sake of wildfire prevention.
‘An edict on equal education’
A tiny Marin County school district intentionally segregated its students, corralling black and Latino children in an underperforming public school for years, according to settlement terms in a racial discrimination case announced Friday by the state attorney general’s office.
Former leaders of the Sausalito Marin City School District failed their students and must now develop a plan to quickly reintegrate its classrooms.
After an investigation into charges of racial discrimination in the school district that began three years ago, the settlement calls for a speedy solution to desegregate the two schools located in the southern Marin County district.
“You can be angry about what happened, but our kids are already hurting and suffering. Hopefully, they will flourish and grow now,” said one parent, Kahaya Adams. “We want the best for all the kids in our district.”
Theater as therapy
With depression and suicidal thoughts on the rise among American teenagers, psychologists say building honest communication between parents and their kids is key to addressing mental illness. That can be especially difficult for Asian American families steeped in cultures that won’t openly address psychological problems.
Rona Hu, a Stanford University psychiatrist, and Eun Kyung Joanne Lee, adjunct clinical instructor at Stanford, said Asian American parents often seem “strict and unforgiving.”
The Communication Health Interactive for Parents of Adolescents and Others (CHIPAO) is a mental health initiative that role-plays scenarios between Asian American parents and their children and typically draw hundreds of attendees. Hu, Lee and others perform the vignettes at high schools around the Bay Area at the invitation of local PTAs.
Fun fact: CHIPAO is a homophone for qipao (pronounced cheePAO), a traditional Chinese silk dress worn to Lunar New Year parties and parades. The name is meant to normalize the idea that anyone can struggle with their mental health and that those problems are not character flaws.
A federal trap
If you are not a U.S. citizen, it may be legally dangerous for you to work in the marijuana industry, even though it’s legal in California, according to a federal policy announced this year.
Anything immigrants do to make marijuana available — tending the crops, or even being an accountant or a secretary in a dispensary — is considered evidence of “bad moral character” that can deprive them of a bid for citizenship, a work permit or, in some cases, the right to remain in the country.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center goes further. It advises against having cannabis, a medical marijuana card or stickers and T-shirts with marijuana messages. It also recommended removing pot-related texts and photos from cell phones and social media.
Around the bay
• Stepping up security: With three mass shootings fresh in everyone’s minds, there were plenty of frayed nerves among the tens of thousands of music lovers who crammed into the Outside Lands festival this weekend. More: Baring his torso and wearing his regulation white drawstring trousers, Donald Glover brought Childish Gambino back to the Bay Area for one last hurrah.
• Retiring No. 22: The Giants will retire Will Clark’s number next year, the team announced Sunday, when much of the 1989 World Series team was on the field for a reunion.
• Transbay terminal reopens: For the first time in nearly a year, commuters are able to use the $2.2 billion Transbay transit center, its cracked support beams repaired and its bus deck reopened for business.
• Building momentum: “You make me a better candidate,” Sen. Kamala Harris told a cheering crowd toward the end of a long campaign day during a five-day, “river to river” bus tour of Iowa. Harris’ campaign is hoping that building up in Iowa will provide a lasting spark for the California Democrat.
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• From the desk of Phil Matier: The words “felon,” “offender,” “juvenile delinquent” and others would be part of the past in official San Francisco parlance under new “person first” language guidelines adopted by the Board of Supervisors.
• ‘I can’t believe this day came’: Hamid Hayat, the Lodi man who spent 14 years in prison in one of the most controversial terrorism cases of the post-Sept. 11 era, said he’s “still in shock” after his release from federal prison in Arizona.
• A sandwich shop and the seal who loves it: In The Usual, a new and irregular column, we explore regulars in their restaurants and the roles such places play in the lives of the people they feed. First up: the story of Lou Seal and Deli Board.
• PG&E in court: The judge overseeing PG&E Corp.’s bankruptcy case questioned how the company is handling the compensation of its top executives, including an $11 million payment plan for senior leaders.
• Gun control legislation: Can gun laws curb gun violence? Two recent studies found that three types of laws that regulate access to firearms are associated with a significant reduction in gun-related homicides.
• Local fallout: The tariffs slapped on Chinese goods last year have been tough enough for many Bay Area stores. And it’s about to get harder still, if President Trump has his way.
Chronicle Food + Wine
When you drink Monte Rosso, “you are literally drinking history,” says Brenae Royal, 29. “You are tasting wine from vines that exist nowhere else in the world.”
Royal is vineyard manager for Monte Rosso Vineyard, one of California’s great viticultural treasures — and five years into her role, she’s got big goals to put her stamp on the 133-year-old vineyard and leave the land better than she found it.
You also don’t see many farmers, in Sonoma County or elsewhere, who are women, who are Millennials or who are black. Royal is all three.