Category Archives: Schools

Technology controls us, or we control it

By Hannah Kim

Staff Writer

Hello Summit News Readers!

My name is Hannah Kim, and, as a journalist for Summit News, I will focus on writing about an ever-changing field: technology.

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K2 junior Hannah Kim

Technology impacts us on a day-to-day basis. To learn, we utilize Summit’s PLP model (an online learning platform catered to help students learn independently and at their own pace); to keep in touch with friends, we can tap a few things on our phones to send a quick text message; to stay informed, we might turn to Google or a news app for instant notifications; to relax, we might browse on Netflix to binge watch TV shows for hours on end. The list goes on. 

As students who are living in a society where technology is ever-present, my goal is to write articles that will increase our awareness of it: the good, the bad, the known and unknown. Whether this means addressing the ways algorithms can increase our bias in politics, publishing articles about new innovation, or writing articles about the tips and tricks of technology that can be used to help a Summit student, it is vital for us to become technologically informed in order to better navigate the future of society. 

But why exactly is it vital? It seems like Gen Z folk understand how to use Google. It seems as if adjusting to the latest video game console or iOS update is not an arduous task. It would be safe to say that we are the most tech savvy generation of any other. So why is it crucial to be cognizant of technology when it seems as if we already know how to use it? Who can know the benefits and implications of technology better other than the ones who use it the most? 

The answer is simple: because technology is powerful. Technology either controls us, or we control it. I cannot stress the number of times I have seen students at Summit being captivated by the recommended videos suggested by their YouTube account. We become like robots, capable only of keeping our eyes open and clicking the mouse to watch the next video. Occasionally, we might exercise some brainpower to switch a tab when the teacher approaches too close. Is this the state-of-the-art education technology is providing us? Is this the way we learn to become independent, well-informed citizens? 

Technology is merely a tool. How we wield it depends on us. I hope that this column will provide insightful, thought-provoking content that can not only help readers become technologically informed, but also help them truly consider the effects it might have on their lives; the best way to respond; and the best way to stay in control. 

New charter legislation raises questions over its implications

By Jacob Kahn-Samuelson, Maxwell Taniguchi-King and Nethan Sivarapu

Staff Editors

Charter legislation in California has recently been updated to include more regulations on charter schools. The new charter legislation could have implications for Summit Public School campuses, with the new laws influencing how California charters are approved and how teachers are certified.  

California charter law has not been updated since 1992; and on Sept. 17, 2019 AB 1505 was signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 1505 has placed stronger regulations on charter schools and the process of how they are approved and renewed. 

At Summit, electives are known as Expeditions and take place for two weeks at a time, four times a year. College Readiness is an Expeditions class specifically for juniors to prepare them for college. New charter legislature might change things for electives teachers like Keith Brown, who previously taught College Readiness and currently teaches courses on pop culture and theater. 

Mr. Brown said how the laws might affect Tahoma and the Expeditions teachers who work there: “For Tahoma specifically I think it will harm college readiness stuff that Summit tries so hard for. There is not really a college readiness credential so I wonder how that is going to go. I worry that it is going to cause a lot of headaches.”

AB 1505 is a highly controversial law passed in California and was passed by a vote in the assembly of 44 yes votes, 19 no votes, and 17 members abstained while in the senate it received 27 yes votes, 11 no votes, and 2 members abstained. 

California assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, one of the lead authors of AB 1505, talked about the motivations of the bill, “The mission behind AB 1505 is not to end charter schools, but to ensure that they are accountable, successful, and serve all students.” 

Assemblymember Kevin Kiley opposes the bills and believes that they are specifically anti-charter, “These bills are both aimed at placing severe limits and restrictions on the charter sector which has been a goal of some people in the legislature for quite some time.”  

The largest teachers’ union in California, the California Teachers Association (which is the state organization through which SPS teachers are currently organizing a local chapter), expressed support for AB 1505 on their website, “AB 1505 by Assemblymembers O’Donnell and Bonta ensures local communities control the authorization and renewal of charter schools and also repeals provisions allowing the State Board of Education to approve, renew or hear appeals of charter school petitions.” 

Those who oppose AB 1505 claim it will harm charter schools and the limited appeals process will harm charter schools in the future. Jonathan Stewart, the executive director of Summit Tahoma, explained that Summit Tahoma was initially denied in its charter petition in 2009 and had to go through the appeals process: “So Tahoma appealed to the county and the county authorized Tahoma.” 

Before AB 1505, rejected charter petitioners could appeal directly to the State Board of Education. Under AB 1505, denied charter petitioners would first appeal to the county board of education; if they are denied from there, they can appeal to the state board of education which will only authorize their charter if they determine the school district or county abused its discretion. 

In addition to changing the appeals process, AB 1505 changes the teaching credential requirements for teachers at charter schools. Assemblyman O’Donnell explained the new teaching regulations, “Every teacher in a charter school shall have a background check and the appropriate credential to teach that subject within the next five years. A lot of charter school teachers now do not have teaching credentials so we want them to have teaching credentials. And a lot of charter school teachers now don’t have an adequate background check and we want them to have an adequate background check.” 

Here is an interactive detailing Bill 1505. To expand a text box and see the quote analysis, click on a square.

Mr. Stewart believes that the new teacher certification regulations will harm charter schools’ abilities to add good teachers: “The majority of teachers are credentialed, but not all of them. We have been able to get some people who are really masters of their crafts and really interested in working with students who we might not otherwise be able to get.”

AB 1505 changes the requirements for teachers at charter schools. AB 1505 explains the requirements of teachers under previous regulations, stating, “Existing law requires teachers in charter schools to hold a Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document equivalent to what a teacher in other public schools would be required to hold.” The law goes on to explain the new requirements: “This bill would instead require teachers in charter schools to hold the Commission on Teacher Credentialing certificate, permit, or other document required for the teacher’s certificated assignment, except that a person employed as a teacher in a charter school during the 2019–20 school year would have until July 1, 2025, to obtain that certificate, permit, or other document.” 

Residents of San Jose affected by Google’s plans to expand

By Polina Runova

Staff Editor

The company Plotter Pros resides in a building that doesn’t look like much from the outside. Its walls are a simple white, periodically coated in murals by graffiti artists. The whole building is located in a small alley off of the main street, Alameda, in downtown San Jose.

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The building home to Plotter Pros looks plain and ordinary from the outside. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Despite its plain appearance, it turns out the building has more to it than meets the eye. Peter Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros explained that the building “was actually a community center. It was built in the 30s as a roller rink. It’s been a bunch of things that involve the city.”

Plotter Pros, a commercial printing company, is only one of the downtown businesses that might be affected by Google’s expansion in the area. Concerns include rent increases, displacement, and possible loss of valuable buildings.

Today, the building in question is not only home to the company Plotter Pros but also a studio that Mr. Inshaw rents out to artists. He believes the building has done enough for the community to be considered of historical value.

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Peter Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

At first Mr. Inshaw had thought that it would be preserved, as “it’s a historical building.” Now he believes this is not the case. “Other historical buildings are being levelled,” he said, mentioning another building that has been around since the 1800s. Today it is a “big hole in the ground.”

Despite his concerns, Mr. Inshaw believes that Google’s expansion might bring benefits as well. “The good part is that it’s revitalizing downtown, which has been stagnant with no plan,” he said. “Actually connecting all the transit has been something a long time coming.”

Referring to both unprotected historical buildings and rent increases, Mr Inshaw said he remains unsure about whether the benefits of the downtown remodel will outweigh the negatives.“I just don’t know the long-term cost of it.”

Although not many people besides Mr. Inshaw expressed a concern for historical buildings, many share a worry about rent. “Those are probably the two biggest concerns,” Mr. Inshaw said. “We lose the building, or can’t afford to be here.”

Google plans to move into downtown San Jose

Nanci Klein is San Jose’s Director of Real Estate and Assistant Director of Economic Development. She explained that Google’s plans for San Jose include “up to 6.5 million square feet of office development,” as well as “a range of housing units.” She added that Google intends to provide amenities, not just office space, in order to make downtown San Jose an area where people can work, live and engage in recreational activities.

Ms. Klein said that “San Jose wants both jobs and housing” and that Google is willing to help provide both. “Many cities have 2.5 to 3 jobs to employed residents. San Jose is approximately 0.76 jobs to employed ratio,” Ms. Klein said. That is an issue that the city hopes to fix through their collaboration with Google.

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The need to commute in order to go to work puts more cars on the road. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Ms. Klein explained that there are several negatives that come with San Jose’s lack of jobs. People need to commute in order to go to work, which “puts a lot of people on the roads, and creates more greenhouse gasses.” Giving people work near the place they live would benefit the environment.

Additionally, Ms. Klein said, “There’s a lot of benefit and quality of life for people working closer to where they live.” She explained, “If you just have office [space] and everyone leaves at 6 or 7 in the evening, it’s pretty quiet. But if you have a mix of uses, which incorporate jobs and residential, it can be very, very lively.”

There are still several things that need to happen before Google can start breaking ground. “There is an entitlement process, which we hope will be completed by the end of 2020. Then there will be the process of design and building permits,” Ms. Klein said. She added that this estimate could change, depending on the economic state of the country. “Things can be approved, but if the community, the United States, or the world is in a down trend, that will potentially limit what time frame is needed for beginning construction.”

Ms. Klein said that, for the past years, it has been difficult for the city to “provide fundamental services to our residents and our businesses.” The city of San Jose is hoping that working with Google will help to “provide as much equitable development and quality mobility, to have the array of jobs, to make them available to San Jose residents,” Ms. Klein explained, adding that, “It’s a really important part of our economy and community.”

People of downtown react to Google’s plans to expand

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Denise Luna, manager of Babe’s Mufflers and Brakes PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Denise Luna is a manager of an auto repair business called Babe’s Muffler and Brakes. Ms. Luna is new to the area, and has heard “little” about Google’s plans to expand. “I just heard the rents might go up,” Ms. Luna said. “Around here, they are already expensive as it is.” Although not terribly worried about her business’ displacement, Ms. Luna has noticed that some people were “already moving out.” She added “that right there, could affect our business, because we get a lot of people who live around here to do business with us. They move out – there goes our business.”

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Eric Johnson, owner of Recycle Bookstore PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Others are hoping that, on the contrary, Google’s expansion will bring about more jobs and opportunities for business. Eric Johnson is the owner of a bookshop called Recycle Bookstore. Mr. Johnson is expecting that the expansion will bring more activity to downtown San Jose. “The more density you have, the more activity you have,” Mr. Johnson said. “And that tends to be, on the whole, a good thing.”

Mr. Johnson has also noticed the increase in rents, but he hopes Google will also bring an increase in business, which will allow him and others to cover the increasing rents. “Sometimes a small business can pay a little more rent, it depends on whether or not the area increases the business at all.”

Google’s expansion has already affected other cities

Google first came to Mountain View when it leased office space from SGI’s campus, back in 2003. The campus was purchased a couple years later, and then transformed into Google’s corporate headquarters, Googleplex. When the plans for Google’s expansion in Mountain View were first suggested, people had mixed feelings about this development. Some were hoping for more business, while other feared rising housing prices and displacement. Now, roughly fifteen years later, local businesses confirm that Googleplex came as a mixed package.

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Mountain View is home to Google’s corporate headquarters. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

The Google campus is pristine. The trees are aligned; the hedges are trimmed; and the sidewalks are clean. Everything appears to be taken care of. Nearby, a construction site is fenced off where Google is working on another building. However, just a few streets down, everything looks different.

Smaller businesses, while agreeing that Google has brought some benefits, admit that many people are now struggling to keep up with rising rent prices. Some businesses have trouble finding new employees, as many people have been forced to move because of the rising rent prices.

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Joy McCarthy, manager of The Maids PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

“Finding employees is very difficult,” Joy McCarthy said. “They can’t find housing in the area.” Joy McCarthy runs a cleaning service called The Maids. It is a family business, currently owned by her mother. Ms. McCarthy, in addition to running The Maids, is also a renter. As a result of Google’s expansion, Ms. McCarthy notices that “rents have definitely climbed significantly.”

Concerns with housing seems to exist all around town. A local business owner, who asked to remain anonymous, said that small companies like his family business are less and less likely to be able to “afford to work our family business in the area”. These are people who have been in Mountain View for ages. “I’m born and raised here, so I’ve been here almost 40 years, and I’ve absolutely seen a major change. My father’s been here 65 years, and he can obviously tell you times have changed.”

Although the family business has been in the area for what can seem like forever, it is possible they might have to leave the area because of the rise in rent pricing. “Major developers see more value in retail office space, or commercial office space, vs warehouse space,” the family business owner said. “Small companies like myself, we rely on being able to operate in a warehouse capacity.” This is why the owner foresees that they “will likely be forced to move within the next three or four years.”

Not everything people say about Google is negative, however. “As a matter of fact, we do work for Google. When Google buys some of these buildings here and in the peninsula area, we are hoping that we get contracted to go do some of that flooring work,” the family business owner said. “So there is benefit in providing when they’re building new homes, when they’re building new office space. It is bringing more job opportunities to those local businesses.”

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Omega Printing is a commercial printing company in Mountain View. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Another local business says they got more good out of Google’s expansion than bad. Omega Printing is a commercial printing company, located nearby Googleplex. Jesselyn Hernandez, a graphic designer at Omega Printing said “for us, we’re printers, so it’s actually a positive, because the new starter companies, we start printing for them.” She added that once these startup companies, “start growing bigger and bigger, they go somewhere else because we’re this small little business”.

Google’s expansion in Mountain View has indeed been attracting many beginning companies to the area, and in this way provides business for the local companies. Ms. McCarthy agreed that every now and then there’d be “a little more business from people moving in and out.”

“It depends on who you ask,” Ms. Hernandez said. She explained that, overall, there are both benefits and negatives to Google’s expansion. “For us, like I said, the pros are overcoming the cons. For new people, that are coming into the city, I would gauge more negatives.” 

Google’s plans to expand in San Jose affecting Willow Glen

Although Google’s expansion is going to take place in downtown San Jose, the indirect impact could be felt all the way in Willow Glen.

Mark Larson, a film history teacher at Santa Clara University, lives a 15-minute walk from downtown Willow Glen. He brought up the idea that Google’s expansion will bring about a change in the community’s mindset.

Willow Glen hasn’t been affected by “anything that they’ve done concretely, of course, because no one’s broken any ground or anything,” Mr. Larson said. However, Mr. Larson added, “I think it’s the psychological effect, where this giant company comes into your town and sort of starts taking it over. I think that affects how you think, and the space that you live in, and the idea of community.”

Mr. Larson suggests that whenever a big company such as Google comes to a community, many things change. “You lose the character; you lose the history; you lose the small businesses that can’t keep up; or you lose the employees for your restaurant or for your little shop that you’re trying to run because they can’t afford to live in the community.”

Mr. Larson explained that, once Google moves in, whenever he goes to the Diridon train station in downtown San Jose, he’ll “have to walk through their whole campus, their whole corporate headquarters, just to go to the train.” Mr. Larson feels downtown San Jose will become a completely different place. “I won’t be in San Jose; I’ll be in Google Land.”

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A sign with the words ‘Google Glen’ was put up in Willow Glen. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Larson

It appears downtown San Jose isn’t the only place where Google is making its presence known. “Here in Willow Glen, where we live, we’re famous for our nice little downtown, Lincoln Avenue, where all the shops are,” Mr. Larson said. Recently, however, there’s been a change.“We saw this sign that went up, put up by Google, saying ‘Google Glen’,” Mr. Larson said. He feels that Google is “putting their imprint on our little community here, our little neighborhood. And that’s upsetting because you want to have your own identity, whatever we decided we wanted to be.”

Mr. Larson added that although the mental effect is the most prominent one, there are other concerns in the Willow Glen area as well. “We do rent our home, and we’re absolutely scared out of our wits that our landlords will sell the house because of the Google effect,” Mr. Larson said. If that were to happen, he fears he and his family would “ have to move somewhere.” Mr. Larson explained, “That’s happened to so many people that we know; you hear about it on the news. We’re very scared of that, and we’ve never had to worry about that before.”

Local news stories support Mr. Larson’s story. For example, the Mercury News reported that about a year ago, Decron Properties, a real estate investment firm, bought an apartment complex in Willow Glen. Mercury News wrote, that because of increasing prices in the housing market, “apartments are becoming increasingly attractive alternatives.”

The apartment complex is only “a short rail ride from Google’s proposed transit village in the downtown area.” Mercury News reported that David Nagel, president of Decron Properties, said “The proposed Google campus was a compelling reason for us and our investors to acquire this well-located property.” It appears Google’s expansion is affecting the decisions of other large companies, even those located away from downtown San Jose.

“I really don’t have a solution to it,” Mr. Larson admitted. However, he did say, “I think one thing that would help, though, is if people had more of an awareness for their community, about the impact it might have, for their own sense of identity.” Mr. Larson believes it’s important to keep the people informed. Sometimes communities “get very excited about stuff like this,” Mr. Larson said. “I think they rush too quickly into accepting it.”

Changes await Downtown San Jose

“There are going to be so many changes that come,” Ms. Klein said. She anticipates new amenities and resources to come into the area “in terms of retail, in terms of BART, in terms of additional streetscape, additional places for people to gather,” as well as “jobs, housing, and affordable housing.”

“It might pretty much upscale the area,” Mr. Johnson, owner of the Recycle Bookstore said. “The fear would be that smaller businesses that survive on slightly lower rents might be priced out of the area.”

Mr. Johnson also said, ”You have development and it tends to uplift America sometimes as well.” He can imagine both positive and negative outcomes from Google’s expansions. “It’s kind of up to the city to kind of balance and see what the effect on the community is going to be,” he said.

Ms. Klein agrees, that the city has “the opportunity and the responsibility to do it in a way that is positive for the community.” She added that the city hopes “to mitigate and minimize any potential negative impacts from the project.”

For example, Ms. Klein brought up that “there is very much a concern that bringing 20 to 25 thousand additional people down to San Jose can cause pressure.” Many people are expected to come into the area Google plans to move into. “It’s an interesting statistic that was shared with me recently, “Ms. Klein said. “The number of people that are projected to go through Diridon [in one day] by, say, 2040 will be the same number that go to the San Francisco Airport in a day.”

The general increase of activity in San Jose means there are going to be “more people who want to be in the area, who are willing to pay more for houses and/or rental apartments in the area,” Klein said. “City of San Jose is paying a lot of attention to issues relating to any potential displacement.”

Ms. Klein adds that there is a big difference between Google’s Mountain View expansion and Google’s San Jose expansion. “In Mountain View they are very much a campus,” Klein said. “In San Jose we are working with them to be integrated into the city and that will make a tremendous amount of difference into what is created.”

Ms. Klein explains that the city is trying to protect both the people, and the culture of the city. This includes buildings in the area. “In San Jose, like many other places, there are buildings which are landmarks which will absolutely be retained,” she said.

She also added that some buildings, might be “adapted” into the developing area. For example, “there are buildings where only what is retained are the facades, so that the building can be redone to make it much more efficient,” while “in some instances there is development over those buildings, so you have what’s referred to as air rights,” Ms. Klein said.

Ms. Klein explained that this is “not because of the Google project, but just part of regular development considerations,” and that similar remodeling is happening “in many, many cities throughout the country”.

There might be many changes coming to San Jose, but Ms. Klein believes the city will keep it’s own cultural personality throughout the development. “San Jose is blessed with a wide ranging diversity, and that’s the kind of city that we want to continue to be,” she said.

“I am personally not terribly worried about this.” Mr. Johnson said. “Cautiously optimistic, let’s put it that way.”

“People will adjust and figure it out,” Mr. Inshaw, president of Plotter Pros, added. The community of downtown San Jose is “just kind of waiting to see,” he said. “It’s years away, but it’s already having an effect.”

Feature Image (at the top of this post): A street going through the Google Campus in Mountain View is labeled Google. PHOTO CREDIT: Polina Runova

Tahoma community members share opinions on the 2020 election

By Yasmeen Ali, Kainoa Garo and Ian Vu

Staff Writers

Many people from Summit Tahoma, a charter school in San Jose, show strong opinions on the upcoming 2020 presidential election. Many teachers and students have knowledge about the candidates; Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris appear to be inspiring the most interest so far. 

As of Oct. 9, a total of 19 Democrats and four Republicans are running in the 2020 presidential election. Opinion on campus seems to lean toward a Democratic view; all the teachers and students interviewed at Summit Tahoma for this story expressed the most interest in Democratic candidates. 

For example, Tahoma math teacher Douglas Wills said, “I’m in love with Elizabeth Warren. Every time she talks I’m, like, in love with her … she’s a little to the left of me with some economic things, but, in general, she lines up pretty well with me.”

See below for political perspective from the Tahoma community:

Opinions of the Tahoma community on presidential politics

Some interviewees explained that the presidential campaign is currently focused on whether or not President Donald Trump should stay in office. Tahoma history teacher Kevin Franey said, “A lot of focus is on the Republican side keeping Trump in office, and on the Democratic side it’s mostly about beating Trump.”

Tahoma Executive Director Jonathan Stewart explained how extreme views are becoming more common. “The political center ground in the U.S. has eroded a little bit, so people are more on the political extremes, either on the right or the left.”

Particular community members expressed their wants for more variety in the candidates who are running for president. Tahoma senior Ethan Nguyen said, “One change I would love to see is that I’m hoping that the establishment — in both the DNC and RNC which is Democratic and Republic national committees — I’m hoping that they allow more candidates this time … people were forced to pick a side.”

A few of the individuals interviewed said presidential elections in the United States require improvement. “There’s a lot of problems in our system. I think the fact that it depends on so much money is a big problem. It puts a lot of pressure on candidates to bend to people that are able to supply that money,” Tahoma Assistant Director Megan Toyama said. “I think that the electoral college — and not being based purely on the popular vote and it being based on the electoral college — gives some states more power than others.”

Expeditions Dean Monica Hanson, who runs the electives team at Summit Tahoma, also identified multiple problems in which how voters chose certain candidates. “I think we get too caught up in cult of personality … but I wonder at what point we’re actually looking at the plans — and their track record of being a politician and getting stuff taken care of and actually doing what they say — rather than this is someone I’d want to hang out with.” 

The presidential election of 2020 is important as it determines how our future regarding the government might become. Tahoma biology teacher Alexis Lorenz said, “I think as up-and-coming voters, our students need to always take that opportunity to vote. As my dad always says: You can’t bitch if you don’t vote. And we all dearly like to complain, and so, if you’re gonna complain, you have to have done your part in making your voice heard.”

State senator visits Tahoma for press conference

EDITOR’S NOTE: On Oct. 8, State Senator Jim Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism class.

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State Senator Jim Beall emphasizes diversity in government

By Uma Datta, Maddie Knight and Jae-Lyn Miranda

Staff Writers

To California State Senator Jim Beall, diversity in government is incredibly important. It allows connections with the American people. Whether it be a different gender, race, or sexuality than the majority, Sen. Beall believes diversity will play a huge role in the upcoming elections. 

“One of the things a lot of people talk about is maybe there should be more diversity in the senate, and I agree with that,” Sen. Beall said. 

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Tahoma for a press conference with the journalism Expeditions class. Many issues were brought up, including the benefits of diversity in government. Sen. Beall is a supporter of government diversity and believes it will strengthen, not hurt the government.

Sen. Beall is an especially strong supporter of women in government. He believes that a woman in charge would change the future of the United States. 

“I personally think that women would change the way of how to do things if they have leadership,” Sen. Beall said. He thinks it’s time for a change. The senator started his career working in a group where both men and women were politically active. This showed him the value of diversity in his workspace. 

Sen. Beall said, “The men are a little bit more ego.” He added, “I like to work in a more collaborative way with people. I guess it’s easier to work with women on a team.” He is looking forward to having more women in places of power: “I think by next election, or the one after that, we might have a majority of senators being female.” 

Both of Sen. Beall’s top candidates for the upcoming presidential election are women: Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. “It’s neat to have a female president, don’t you think?” 

Sen. Beall resonates with Kamala Harris because they have a connection, both being California politicians; and he admires Elizabeth Warren for having a clear stance on issues, something he said the other candidates lack.

The senator is term-limited and will leave his seat next year. He is not the only one; two of his fellow senators are leaving as well: “Three white men, if you want to put it that way, are leaving; in each case, there are females running, LGBTQ+, and others running for those seats.” 

Sen. Beall is eagerly awaiting the upcoming presidential election. With five women still in the running for president, it remains anybody’s game. 

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State senator speaks on legislative accomplishments

By Kylie Gallegos, Destiny Holliman and Emily Nguyen

Staff Writers

A San Jose State alumni, State Senator Jim Beall has dedicated his life to public service and focused his legislative career on providing health care; he also received an award for his work in public transit. 

“When you have the stresses of trying to achieve; or something might have happened to you in a personal relationship; or maybe there was something that happened to you in your family that caused you to get upset; you need someone to talk to, so we are trying to establish the counseling programs in all the schools,” Sen. Beall said, explaining why he passed legislation for mental health services for youth.

On Oct. 8, Sen. Beall visited Summit Public Schools: Tahoma and answered student questions about his experiences as a senator and the laws he has passed. For example, Sen. Beall introduced  SB 12 in 2019, which requires a minimum of 100 youth centers to address mental health issues for young Californians. These centers would not require insurance or citizenship. 

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, it’s not really a health problem; it’s really just your own feelings or something’, but I think it is a health problem,” Sen. Beall said. 

The senator also introduced SB 191, which helps young residents receive services for mental health and substance abuse. The bill provides services to K-12 students by establishing partnerships in school districts and county mental health plans. 

Sen. Jim Beall also mentioned he’s working on getting the governor to sign a foster care bill. In addition to that, he has passed bills to help better support foster children.

Sen. Beall helped pass SB 319 into law; the bill allows public health nurses to observe the use of psychotropic drugs on foster children. The bill ensures that public health nurses are permitted to use mental and health information to help ensure that the child’s developmental needs are being met. 

The senator’s legislation is not only focused on mental health issues; he also focuses on transportation. He talked about his transportation legislation and how he has passed multiple transportation-related bills.

The bill SB 152 reduces the complicated application process for Active Transportation Programs (which encourage biking and walking). The bill also provides funding for pedestrian safety.

Sen. Beall ended the press conference by returning to the issue of substance abuse and how he feels it should be dealt with by the California legislature: “We should have full health-care services for anybody that has a substance abuse problem, and I’ve been working on that for a long time.” 

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State senator’s history inspires his focus on making change

By Grace Mcmorrow, Eric Spyropoulos and Dania Zamudio

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall was raised in San Jose, California. When he was in his teenage years, he started working in the fields to support his family, after their house burned down. He witnessed the mistreatment of the other workers in the fields, which inspired him to make a change. 

Sen. Beall’s focus is not making money; he wants to make changes and help make California a better place. “It’s not about yourself, not about making money, none of that.”

On Oct.8, Sen. Beall spoke to a class of student journalists at Summit Tahoma and explained that one of his primary goals is treating people with physical and mental health issues. “I think we should fund more treatment programs,” he said. “We should have full health-care services for people with substance abuse problems.” 

He also wrote a bill for foster care, Assembly Bill 12, which helps people ages 18 to 21, allowing them to attend college or preparation courses with housing made available.

Sen. Jim Beall said he studied urban planning and social sciences. This is part of his ideals as a politician. Sen. Beall believes in working on preventing climate change. 

Sen. Beall said that California should be a sanctuary state. He believes that splitting up the family for immigration is unacceptable. He said, “I would develop a process … for them to become a U.S. citizen.” 

Sen. Beall believes selective enforcement of the law is inappropriate. He said, “If you have justice, you need to have equal justice … so you have to have everyone treated the same.”  He believes that sometimes the justice system doesn’t work in terms of equal justice.  

The senator is term-limited and cannot run for re-election. He believes that there should be more diversity in the State Senate and, after the election, he estimated that the majority of the senators are going to be females. 

***

State Senator Jim Beall addresses affordable housing options, concerns and solutions

By Zachary Daniel, Henry Pierce and Cyrus Shakeri

Staff Writers

State Senator Jim Beall believes there are major inconveniences in California related to jobs and housing and those factors contribute to the difficulties of being successful in San Jose. He attended a press conference held by Summit News on Oct. 9 to discuss this.

“The problem is there are too many jobs and not enough housing,” Sen. Beall said, providing student journalists with the ideas and solutions that he has for his district. SB-5 and SB-9 are some of the forefront bills Sen. Jim Beall has advocated for that have the intention of improving San Jose’s housing situation. 

Sen. Beall has served as a San Jose City Councilman, Santa Clara County Supervisor, and legislator in the State Assembly. In addition to housing costs, he has demonstrated an interest in public transportation, mental health and foster care.

Sen. Beall plans on improving the housing crisis in the Bay Area by providing funding to local governments to collaborate on state-approved community revitalization plans. He said, “My job is to have it done right,” and claims that this will create affordable housing for hard-working Californians and better the opportunities that the Bay Area provides.

“If housing options were provided, then people wouldn’t have to move to places like Los Banos, or be forced to double up,” Sen. Beall believes that if the expense of housing is decreased, more people will be able to live in the Bay Area, and they wouldn’t need to spend lots of money or drive farther for their daily commute to work.

According to CBS SF Bay Area, in places like Stockton and Sacramento, a weighted 11.2 percent of the workforce commute every day to work or school (310,496 people live in Stockton alone, meaning 34,100 people are affected on a day-to-day basis by the housing shortage).

Article SB-4 strongly encourages increased housing development located close to transit and job centers by removing restrictive local development policies. This secures the acceptance that every jurisdiction contributes its fair share to a housing solution while acknowledging relevant differences among communities.

Sen. Beall’s SP-6 encourages housing production in California by requiring the state to identify sufficient and adequate sites for housing construction. This will provide more resources to companies looking to build more housing, and over time will decrease the price of living.

SB-9 is a restructuring plan that enables more housing for low-income families through the Tax Credit Allocation Committee (TCAC). This bill means more funding for the construction of affordable housing units at no cost to the state.

Summit Shasta supports students after threat

By Albert Chang-Yoo and Melissa Domingo

Staff Editors

On Wednesday night, the Shasta administration was informed of an Instagram post that contained threats of violence against students. The owner of the account, a Shasta student, later claimed that the post was a joke. However, the administration took steps to ensure student safety on campus.

Throughout the school day on Thursday, staff made sure that students were comfortable on school grounds. Teachers and administrators were outside, interacting with students during breaks and lunch, as well as before and after school. Shasta’s student counselor was available to talk to students throughout the day. In addition, a Daly City police officer was on campus during breaks to maintain a calm environment. 

In an email sent to students and parents, the director of Summit Shasta, Wren Maletsky, stated, “We want to be as clear as possible that threats of violence and fear are not only unacceptable at Shasta, they are a crime. Every student has a right to an education free from fear and safe from harm [original emphasis].” The email was later followed by another email, confirming that the matter of the threat had been resolved and that students were safe to stay on campus.

How did the administration respond?

Adelaide Giornelli, Shasta Dean of Culture and Instruction, explained the precautionary measures taken during this time: “I think it was multi-stepped: I became aware of it when teachers and students and families all separately reached out to me. I believe I got the first text after 10 p.m. So, my first move was to call the Daly City Police Department and report what I had heard. They informed me at that time; they had already been working on the case for an hour; I think because someone had reported it directly to them earlier.” 

Ms. Giornelli then said that she drafted an email that was sent directly to students and families, informing them of what had occurred and the steps that they were taking to ensure student safety.  She also emailed teachers and mentors, suggesting what they could say to their mentees and students about the incident. 

Ms. Giornelli also explained that the problem had to be directly communicated because “we didn’t want things to be going through a rumor mill.” In addition, she wanted to make students aware of the police presence at school: “We have students who are members of communities where the police do not make them feel safe because of the relationship between police and communities of color in America at large right now. We wanted to make sure all students knew that so that was not a surprise.” 

When reflecting on the short amount of time it took for members of the school to notify the authorities, Ms. Giornelli said, “Shasta is my home. I think in a lot of ways the student body here and the community here feels like a family, and it’s been powerful for me to see how many students, parents, and community members were, like, immediately willing to step up, reach out and inform us of what was happening.”

How did the students respond?

There were a range of emotions felt by Summit Shasta students. Some, like Shasta sophomore Theodore Gim, found it to be another mundane day: “Like, it was any other day, ‘cause nothing happened,” he explained. Matthew Lam, another Shasta sophomore, shared the same sentiments. He said, “I was actually OK because, like, the school contacted us and was, like, letting us know; they gave us information before I got to school, so that was good.”

However, some students also experienced feelings of nerves and shock, such as Shasta freshman Jayden DuYee. He said, “I came to school as if it was a regular day, but definitely a little bit more aware and tense about the situation. I definitely knew something was gonna happen, whether it was an act of danger, or just an act of safety; but, to be honest, it’s just extremely nerve-racking that something like this could come up to our school.” Shasta senior Shayla Branner also said, “I was asking my peers what happened, and then they just gave me a summary. After I checked in with Ms. Dayon, and she ran down everything and I was really in shock.”

Shasta junior Aaron Susantin felt irritation toward the situation: “Once I heard the context, my feelings turned less from fear to more irritation.” He also mentioned the transparency between the faculty and families: “But I do appreciate that there was a rather swift response to this … I think that making the information known to us was good.”

Shasta students appreciated the precautionary measures that were taken during this time. Shasta freshman Evangelina Gutierrez said, “I think they did a good job because, like, they said that they were gonna have the teachers out and police officers during lunch, so, like, if anything did happen, they would all be there to, like, react as quick as they could.” 

Lam also mentioned that mentors “gave a presentation before we started mentor SDL [Self-Directed Learning], talking about the incident; again, they were just giving [students] more information.” 

Susantin also said, “I saw some cops. I remember my mentor, during our mentor block, talking about it, giving us context. He then offered some support, some various support such as counseling, and he stated that teachers would be outside if anyone wanted to talk to them.”

Shasta senior Kayla Branner said, “I think the school did what they could, like, with the cops; I felt safe that the cops were here. I liked how the teachers showed that they were here for us; they all sat with us outside …  I liked how they had the doors opened, just in case, you know, anybody didn’t feel safe. I like how they gave us the option to talk to somebody if we didn’t feel safe around the cops, too. So, yeah, I think the school did good and contacted our parents, so that was good.”

How did the mentors respond?

Many of the teachers also expressed shock and sadness over what occurred. Elizabeth Casey, senior mentor and English teacher, said her feelings moved “from disappointed to distraught.” Gene Lee, junior mentor and science teacher, said, “I guess this is the world that we live in now … it was probably just a bad joke that went wrong.” Avi Vigdorchik, co-mentor with Mr. Lee and also a science teacher, said, “I hope it doesn’t affect anyone in the long run. And I hope that this helps people think about their choices of why they say things and what sorts of actions they want to engage it.”

Some mentors communicated frustration, feeling upset with the situation. “I was annoyed by the fact that someone thought it was funny, that somebody thought it was a joke,” Kelley Nugent, junior mentor, explained. “That’s not something you take lightly in this climate, of what’s going on today in our world.”  

Other mentors also said they felt a need to help support students. English teacher and junior mentor Laura Friday said that teachers were going to continue to support students: “I’ve been like checking in with, like small groups of kids, and just telling them that, like, I’m here for them. And I think the same goes with all teachers, like we’re here for our kids; and we love our kids; and we just want our kids to, like, feel safe and happy while they’re here.”

Rachel Baumgold, freshman mentor and math teacher, explained how the administration supported the school: “Shasta wrote up a way to explain to students the summary of what happened and gave mentors ideas for what questions to ask, facilitate conversations with students to make them feel safe and make them feel like they could express their emotions that they’re feeling.” Each mentor group discussed the incident during morning SDL. 

Online safety was another concern highlighted by teachers. “I think as, as teachers and as students, we need to think a little bit more about what we do online and make sure that it’s aligning with, like, who we are as a person and that we’re not, like, hiding behind a screen and being someone other than who we are online,” Keren WuRohe, sophomore mentor and math teacher, said. Milagros Morris, sophomore mentor and Spanish teacher, also commented on social media concerns: “I want to tell the kids, the kids to be very careful on social media. And take this thing seriously, and if they see something, say something.” 

The overarching theme among mentors was a feeling of admiration for the resilience of Shasta students. Nathaniel Thompson, sophomore mentor and Spanish teacher, said, “I’m just really proud of the students today. I think everyone handled it with about as much grace as we could expect from high-school-age people.”

Ms. WuRohe spoke of the student response: “I am impressed with the strength of the community and the maturity of a lot of students to recognize how silly like something like this is to do, like how, how stupid it is to do something like this.”

Ben Alexander, Evelyn Archibald, Zachary Navarra and Mytrisha Sarmiento contributed reporting to this article.

New Homeless Navigation Center on Embarcadero sparks debate

  Alabama and his dog sit on a curb along Market St. PHOTO CREDIT: Mytrisha Sarmiento

By Mytrisha Sarmiento

Staff Editor 

A veteran named Alabama has currently been living on the streets of San Francisco for nine years. He was born in Detroit, but grew up in Tennessee. He found his way to San Francisco due to medical reasons. 

When asked if there should be more Homeless Navigation Centers around the city, he responded, “That’s a hard question, because, if you put in more, more people come to the city for that. In Tennessee we don’t have Navigation Centers, therefore there are no homeless.” 

Alabama is just one of many living on the streets of San Francisco. The city holds up to 24% of the national homeless population, which has increased by 17% since 2017 according to the San Francisco Chronicle. This comes to a total of an estimated 6,858 people who are homeless in the city today.

Alabama shared a possible solution in helping to alleviate the problem: “Quicker housing instead of being on a two-year or three-year waiting list. The first time I got housed on the city it took almost four years, and I know there are so many homeless people that the list is that long.” 

As part of the city’s efforts to tackle homelessness, Mayor Breed proposed the SAFE Homeless Navigation project in March 2019. The SAFE Homeless Navigation will hold 175 to 225 beds, which currently is the biggest Navigation Center in the Bay Area. This new establishment is located on a part of Seawall Lot 330 about two blocks from Piers 30-32. There have been a multitude of meetings, conferences and hearings held regarding the establishment. The opposition consists mainly of angry residents who are fixed to halt construction and discontinue the project as a whole.

The two sides of the argument created GoFundMe pages with the hope of gaining funding to support their arguments. The opposition raised $44,610 with an anonymous donor who contributed $10,000 alone. These funds will go to lawyers who will be fighting the Homeless Navigation Center in court. The people in support of the project raised a total of $176,015 on the GoFundMe page. That is almost triple the amount of the opposition.

When informed of the efforts to discontinue the project and the $44,610 raised to pay for lawyers to battle it in court, Alabama said, “Why would anyone do that? It just doesn’t make sense — Wow.” 

He said, “I think it will benefit 80% because not everybody who is homeless wants to be inside; there’s about 20 or 30 percent out there, so the ones that want to be off the streets will benefit a lot.” 

Employees of the Watermark said, “We remain neutral” when asked if they had an opinion on the Homeless Navigation Center being built to the right of the entrance to the building. 

A resident of the building who would not disclose their name said aggressively in a loud tone of voice, “This is a political statement!” There has been a lawsuit filed by residents in an attempt to stop the project. 

A resident of Bayside Village, Facundo Lucero, said, “It’s time San Francisco did something about the situation, but, to be honest, I don’t think I would be comfortable about a building near the area.” He appeared in a hurry to get back to his sandwich. This introduces a concept that has a dominant presence on the side of the opposition: NIMBYism. The Encyclopedia Britannica explains, “Not in My Backyard Phenomenon (NIMBY), also called Nimby, a colloquialism signifying one’s opposition to the locating of something considered undesirable in one’s neighborhood.” 

Aaron Cisneros a manager of a local business Bayside Market, said, “Yes, it will benefit the homeless people; I think we need something like this, but I don’t think this is the right area ’cause right here on Embarcadero it is very busy, and there are all these people that live here, families. In the news you can see everything that’s going on, and it’s scary, real scary.” 

When asked what other efforts could be put in place by the city in order to lessen the amount of homeless people on the streets, he said, “Well, we definitely need to come up with a way to help; I think it is pretty sad that there are so many homeless people in San Francisco. People need to address it. It’s gonna be hard to find a place — where are we gonna do this at? Everywhere they go they are going to unfortunately have a negative response; we need to do something — I don’t know what; I don’t know where to begin.”

The Homeless Navigation Center appears to have already had an effect on the local community. Mr. Cisneros said, “Yes, it already has people in the neighborhood talking about moving away. People who bought housing here because of the beautiful views are now ready to leave because of everything that’s going on. It may seem like a small percentage of people who leave but it makes me worry.”

He added, “I come to work at 5:45 in the morning, and I have to walk by every day, and it’s affecting my own safety, and I’m a guy. I’m a big guy, but you know what — I am no challenge against a gun or a knife. What are you gonna do? It’s scary.” 

Safety concerns are apparent considering that, as of 2016, the amount of homeless people in San Francisco who have a substance abuse disorder has risen, as depicted by San Francisco County SCS Snapshot 2016

Eric Montanna, a superintendent of construction at the Homeless Navigation Center, said, “I like the project I’m building; I think we should be helping as much as possible.”

Mr. Montanna believes that this Homeless Navigation Center will help decrease the amount of homeless people on the streets, and this is important because “there is a lot of homeless on the street, sleeping on sidewalks.”

Furthermore, he said, “I think we need to create more jobs and find affordable housing or lower down housing prices.” Housing prices in the Bay Area are consistently increasing year by year, causing more people to move away or become homeless. This is another aspect of the overall homeless epidemic in the city. 

The final petition regarding the Homeless Navigation Center claimed that, as a result of the “rushed” construction, key steps of the process were overlooked. The building process also included public outreach and a comprehensive environmental review.

The residents are mainly concerned about the effects of the Homeless Navigation Center which the SFIST stated as “drug use, crime, and a general blight to their waterfront environs.” The lawsuit was dismissed by Superior Court Judge Ethan Shulman, who made a final ruling against Safe Embarcadero (who formally go by “Safe Embarcadero for All”), which is a non-profit organization mainly supported by businesses, local residents and other non-profit organizations. The restraining order made by the residents was overruled by the judge on the count that the opposition had failed to reason the potential harm they would endure if the project were to continue.

In response, Mayor Breed shared her opinions of the backlash and lawsuits on the city and county of San Francisco website. Mayor London Breed said, “Our City is in the midst of a homelessness crisis, and we can’t keep delaying projects like this one that will help fix the problem.When we have people suffering on our streets, we need to be able to provide them with the care and services they need.”

There is simply no one solution to the massive amount of homeless people in San Francisco. The solution will need to be a collective effort. The collection of problems in San Francisco have grown out of proportion, including skyrocketing housing prices, NIMBYism, the lengthy amount of time for homeless people to actually get into housing, and a lack of outreach to prevent homelessness, such as providing aid to families at risk of becoming homelessness and people living in their automobiles.

Meanwhile, the two-year lease for the Embarcadero will determine the effectiveness of the Homeless Navigation Center. If successful, the two-year lease on Seawall Lot 330 could be extended.

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