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    In a major decision years in the making, Santa Clara County will move forward with a $390 million new jail, despite public outcry from criminal justice activists who argued the facility will not increase public safety or address the widespread issue of mental health and drug addiction. During a long and fraught meeting on Tuesday, county supervisors approved the new jail in a narrow 3-2 vote, with Cindy Chavez and Susan Ellenberg voting against. The supervisors also voted down a proposal from Ellenberg that would have halted discussions of the jail proposal, with Otto Lee, Mike Wasserman and Joe Simitian voting against. “This is a reminder that Santa Clara (County) is not as progressive when it comes to criminal justice policy than many residents think they are,” said David Ball, a law professor at Santa Clara School of Law and a vocal opponent of the new jail. Ball was one of over a dozen law school professors and deans from surrounding universities who penned a letter to the county supervisors asking that they vote against the jail project. “I don’t think this...
    Some big changes are coming to Santa Clara County’s internal borders. As part of a process that occurs every 10 years to adjust district boundaries following the census, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted a map that county progressives have championed and critics have called a gerrymandering reach. The vote was 3-2, with supervisors Susan Ellenberg, Cindy Chavez and Otto Lee in favor and Mike Wasserman and Joe Simitian against. “This has been a challenging and also fascinating process,” Ellenberg said before voting for the the plan submitted by Chavez, dubbed the “90195.” One big change the new map makes from the one adopted a decade ago is placing Sunnyvale, which was split between districts 3 and 5, entirely into District 3. Another big change involves districts 1 and 5. The city of Los Gatos and San Jose’s Almaden Valley and Lexington Hills areas, which had been in District 1 along with South County communities like Gilroy, now will be part of District 5. And San Jose’s Evergreen neighborhood, which had been in District 3, moves to District 1....
    Why the Chase Sapphire Preferred Might Be the Best Card for Foodies How serious are the Bears about moving after announcing Arlington Heights land purchase? Michael Ellenberg, Crossroads Book and Jonathan Franzen The battle for Jonathan Franzen’s upcoming novel Crossroads has a winner. Following a highly competitive bidding war, Michael Ellenberg’s Media Res has landed the rights to Crossroads, the author’s first in a planned Key to All Mythologies trilogy. Ellenberg, whose Media Res is behind shows like Apple’s The Morning Show, plans to develop Crossroads into a high-end scripted series and shop it to premium cable networks and streamers. The 1970s-set novel revolves around the members of a Chicago family who each seek a freedom that the others threaten to complicate. The title, which will debut Oct. 5, is already generating impressive reviews with the New York Times calling it a “mellow, marzipan-hued ’70s-era heartbreaker” and Slate simply declaring it “superb.” Ellenberg, the former drama head at HBO, has been aggressive in the book space, battling companies including Disney, among others, for rights to highly anticipated titles. “You...
    Two Santa Clara County supervisors have proposed that the board issue a no-confidence vote for Sheriff Laurie Smith over her running of the South Bay’s jails and general management of the agency — failures they assert have cost taxpayers millions in legal settlements and have mired her office in high-profile corruption scandals. In a Board of Supervisors memo and accompanying resolution made public Wednesday, supervisors Joseph Simitian and Susan Ellenberg are calling for the Aug. 31 no-confidence vote, based on their ongoing scrutiny of high-figure jail-abuse and neglect settlements, and a series of criminal indictments that have ensnared Smith associates both in her command and political inner circles. “We find ourselves left with one regrettable conclusion. We no longer have confidence that Sheriff Laurie Smith is able to faithfully, effectively, and ethically perform the duties of Sheriff,” the memo reads. Last week, the board unanimously approved a referral authored by Simitian and Supervisor Otto Lee calling for external investigations into the county’s jail operations by the U.S. Department of Justice, California Attorney General and the county’s civil grand jury. Smith...
    SANTA CLARA COUNTY (BCN) – Hazard pay for some essential workers is coming to unincorporated areas of Santa Clara County in 30 days. On Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors voted to temporarily mandate large grocery stores and pharmacies to provide an additional $5 in hourly pay to employees on top of their regular wage. READ MORE: COVID: Backlogged Cases Push California Virus Deaths Past 50,000 “This ordinance advances a significant public purpose that seeks to compensate certain essential workers for facing increased risks and incurring increased costs during the pandemic in order to ensure that they continue to have stable and reliable access to food, medicine and other daily necessities of daily lives,” Supervisor Susan Ellenberg said. The boost in pay would last 180 days or until the county’s COVID-19 public health emergency is terminated. The new mandate applies to grocery stores and pharmacies with more than 300 employees nationwide and at least 15 employees in unincorporated areas of the county. It also applies to franchises that own at least 10 grocery or drug stores in the state. The...
    In Santa Clara County, residents who identify is Latino are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for half of all cases. This is far out of proportion with the county’s population, of which Latino residents make up only about 25 percent. Across the board, the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color. But the virus is not the only health outcome where racial disparities are playing out, and the county is hoping to address some of the underlying causes with a new community board. The Race and Health Disparities Community Board was conceived of by county supervisors Susan Ellenberg, whose District 4 includes Campbell, West San Jose and San Jose’s Cambrian and Burbank neighborhoods, and Joe Simitian, whose District 5 includes Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto and portions of Sunnyvale and San Jose. Ellenberg said that last summer, as protests raged nationwide after the police killings of multiple unarmed Black people, she felt “an obligation that we in government needed to take a very hard look at the gaps in our existing systems that were persistently leaving some...
    SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — With federal stimulus monies still tied up in Washington, Santa Clara County officials may be taking a bold step to help struggling small businesses. The county could soon be creating a new $100 million low-interest loan program for small businesses. “We can’t be holding our breaths to wait for the federal government to do right by our local small businesses,” said county Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, who is proposing the program this week along with Supervisor Joe Simitian. Despite the further easing of restrictions in Santa Clara County last week, small businesses say they are still struggling. Tranquility Day Spa has open doors and paying customers, but owner Lieu Shultz says her business is still off by half. “A lot of clients are still scared to come back, even though we are following the guidelines, social distancing,” Shultz said. “But still not yet. I think it will take a while.” Ellenberg said businesses are struggling in part because they are following county health orders. “We hear from the businesses who are operating at a fractional level...
    Halloween in the ’hood On Halloween, Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg is inviting District 4 residents to walk, bike or drive to “D4 in the Neighborhood,” a socially distanced community event. Residents can visit one of the locations listed below to safely pick up a prepacked treat bag and informational resources. Visitors to “D4 in the Neighborhood” pick-up locations are required to wear a mask and follow social distancing markers and signs. Visitors are encouraged to bring a new pair of socks to be donated to an organization serving local residents. According to Ellenberg’s staff, socks are the most requested and least donated item to local community organizations. Ellenberg will be at Rosemary Elementary School, 401 W. Hamilton Ave., in Campbell from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Halloween. Visitors are welcome to come by in costume. Support for eating disorders The Eating Disorders Resource Center has added a new online support group for those whose unhealthy eating behaviors are triggered by the social isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic. The free, confidential meetings are led by professionals affiliated with the Campbell-based center. “Many people struggle with the stigma, secrecy and shame that surround eating disorders,” says Janice Bremis, the center’s executive...
    Safe Muertos options Santa Clara County has released new guidelines for safely observing Dia de los Muertos this year. Celebration options are broken up into categories by risk level, with low-risk options like staying home and honoring deceased loved ones by cooking their favorite recipes and listening to their favorite music. For a full list of recommendations, visit tinyurl.com/DiadelosMuertosGuide. ‘Breathe’ for trees San Jose’s Our City Forest, a local nonprofit that aims to spread environmental awareness, is hosting a “Breathe Easy” walkathon Saturday, Nov. 7; residents are encouraged to participate anytime throughout the day. Participants will chart their own paths through the city—on foot or on bicycles—and to keep an eye out for the city’s trees. The nonprofit is hosting a raffle for participants who submit photos of themselves with the trees during the event. To participate, out register at http://www.ourcityforest.org. Wildlife video days The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society has transformed its annual Wildlife and Harvest Day into a monthlong online event this year, which will kick off Oct. 24 at 10 a.m. and run through the last...
    (CNN)A group you've probably never heard of holds powerful sway over which coronavirus vaccines will end up on the market. It's known as the DSMB. Members of a Data and Safety Monitoring Board are the only ones who get to look under the hood while a trial is ongoing. They know who has been given a Covid-19 vaccine, and who has gotten a placebo. The very doctors running the trials, the pharmaceutical companies that developed the vaccines, and even the US Food and Drug Administration don't know. With AstraZenecas vaccine trial still on pause in US, questions abound about study participants mysterious illnesses Armed with that secret, only the DSMB can monitor how safe and effective a vaccine is shaping up to be.One word from the DSMB, and a trial can be stopped. That's what happened to the AstraZeneca trial in early September after a study participant developed neurological symptoms. Shortly after, it came to light that the same trial had been paused briefly in July for similar reasons. While the vaccine trial resumed in the UK, it is...
    Conversations on racial injustice Santa Clara County Supervisor Susan Ellenberg is hosting three virtual countywide Community Conversations for residents and community-based organizations to talk about racial injustice, share their experiences and answer questions about disparities in the public safety and justice systems. “I am listening to residents with the goal of empowering communities to tell us the tools they need to thrive in their own image,” said Ellenberg, whose district includes Campbell. Ellenberg’s goal as chair of the county’s Public Safety and Justice Committee is to collect community feedback for a report, and to use input from residents and community-based organizations to help guide policy direction. The report is set to be presented at an Aug. 6 meeting of the committee, which is responsible for oversight of the county’s criminal justice system. Community Conversations are set for July 11, 10-11:30 a.m.; July 16, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.; and  July 21, 6:30-8 p.m. To participate, RSVP at https://bit.ly/2zIUHRq. Residents who are not able to participate can share their experiences and recommendations by emailing [email protected] with the subject line “Community Conversations” until July 22 to be included in the report. Caltrain rider survey As Bay Area shelter-in-place restrictions...
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