Salinas Police Officers Association issues response to VICE News article

“Twenty-three murders in 2016. Five so far in August. City Leaders won’t act, but we will. The Salinas Police Officers Association has created a political action committee to raise the necessary funds to support candidates running for Mayor and City Council who put public safety first in words and deeds. The committee will also vigorously oppose candidates that play lip service to public safety.”

Curious to see how that PAC turns out. Is “public safety first” code for more police? Or more community-based policing programs like Ceasefire, which has impacted gang violence in other U.S. cities?

Read the SPOA statement here.

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Selected to be 2016-2017 Equitable Cities fellow at Next City

Thrilled to join Next City as their 2016-2017 Equitable Cities fellow. The fellowship is reserved for journalists of color, and runs from August 2016 to March 2017. Publishing three pieces a week on what organizations and governments are doing in U.S. cities to create economic opportunities for poor and disadvantaged communities.

Instead of updating my website with every piece I churn out, I’ll post some of my favorites once the fellowship wraps up. In the meantime, you can follow my work — and find out how to support Next City’s award-winning journalism (hint! hint!) — directly at the website.

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Welcome to the youth murder capital of California

Teresa Hernandez’s 14-year-old son, Alonso, was shot and killed while walking home from school in 2010. A few years later, a woman approached Hernandez at a grocery store and said she knew who pulled the trigger but had been too afraid to contact police, fearing gangs would attack her family.

“I can understand, in a way,” Hernandez says now. “They all grew up in the same circle…. But your fear holds you back, and nothing gets better.”

Her son’s murder remains unsolved.

Read the rest over at VICE News.

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San Diego’s Controversial Push to Hide Its Homeless Before the All-Star Game

More revelations came last month that added to the All-Star Game ire when Pastor James Merino, the head of local non-profit the San Diego Dream Center, claimed he was threatened by cops and the city’s Clean & Safe organization to halt his free weekly meals in the city during the month of July.

During a February 12 meeting with the San Diego Police Department and Clean & Safe, police officers allegedly threatened to “bring the hammer down” on Merino if his non-profit hosted one of their meals during the week of the All-Star Game.

At least two other organizations that do street feeds were asked by the San Diego Police Department not to conduct feedings during the month of July, according to McConnell and Sullivan. Police did not respond to requests to verify this information.

Read the rest over at The Atlantic’s CityLab. Republished in Spanish by Univision and CityLab Latino.

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In Mexico, voter frustration gives rise to the ‘alternative’ candidate

Gastón Luken Garza steps on stage in Tijuana on a recent evening, surrounded by purple spot lights, a fog machine, the glow of recording smartphones and a cheering crowd of admirers.

One of the city’s leading contenders for mayor, an independent not affiliated with any of Mexico’s established parties, he is part of a growing trend of “alternative” candidates in Mexican politics.

“He’s getting people excited, which is insane for Mexico,” says Matthew Suárez, a local writer here in the state of Baja California, which typically has one of the lowest voter turnout rates in all of Mexico. “When I talk to a lot of my … friends, they’re all about him – the idea that he truly is independent,” and what that will allow him to accomplish.

Read the rest over at the Christian Science Monitor.

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Tijuana’s independent candidate brings hope to Mexicans

Luken Garza’s vivacity, and the electricity surrounding independent politics in Mexico today, is part of what has equipped him with hundreds of youth volunteers and an engaged social media following. He may not think he is a populist, but the small movement welling up around him suggests that he is indeed popular to some.

“We’re sick of PRI and PAN because they’ve never tried to support the poor,” says Salina Manza, 56, outside a Luken Garza’s rally in Tijuana.

“We want a change, and we’re voting to bring that change. We have faith that he’ll help us.”

Read the rest over at Al Jazeera.

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Winnie Byanyima profile for GOOD Magazine (print)

“I grew up knowing that there was injustice, but you don’t have to accept it,” she says, her words seemingly as much a consolation for the dissidents of her past as an explanation of what motivates her in the present. “You can say no and you can oppose it, and it is risky. It can cost your life, but it is still a life well spent.”

Read the rest over at GOOD Magazine.

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Build Your Own Baugruppe – A Home For The Rest Of Us

Imagine getting 12 friends together, buying a plot of land, and designing a building that emphasizes community as much as personal square footage through amenities like roof gardens, a library in the basement, and a bike garage annex. Then, once it’s finally built, you own one of the 12 lofts on this plot of land.

That’s a simplified snapshot of how thousands of these homes came to life in Germany.

Commissioned by GOOD Magazine. Read the rest over at Impact Design Hub

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