Culture

Task Force: Hate Crimes a Symptom of San Jose State Campus Climate

San Jose State University officials and LaDoris Cordell, the retired judge and independent police auditor who heads a hate crime task force, respond to a report that cleared the university of any wrongdoing in dealing with allegations of hate crime.

In 2011, a sociology professor released a study on campus climate at San Jose State University that noted problems with minorities feeling singled-out, isolated and discriminated against—sometimes even by faculty. The report’s author, Susan Murray, offered three recommendations: require diversity training for all staff and teachers, establish an office of campus diversity and incorporate diversity research into the tenure process.

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County Considers Wage-Theft Ordinance

More than two-thirds of low-wage workers reported being denied full compensation by their employers, according to one study. (Photo by khrawlings, via Flickr)

Santa Clara County will consider an ordinance to punish employers for wage theft, a charge that would disqualify businesses from public contracts and give workers a formal recourse to lodge complaints against stingy bosses. The motion going before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday would direct the county to come up with a draft ordinance over the coming months. Supervisor Dave Cortese brought forward the idea, citing a 2008 study by the National Employment Law Project that says two-thirds of the 4,387 low-wage workers polled in New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago were denied full compensation.

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Federal Ruling Slashes Cost of Out-of-State Inmate Phone Calls

The cost of out-of-state phone calls just got a whole lot cheaper for inmates. (Photo via Department of Corrections)

A federal ruling will dramatically cut the cost of out-of-state phone calls for Santa Clara County inmates, making it actually cheaper to dial long distance than local. The Federal Communications Commission handed down a directive this month that drops the price for inmates calling to another state by 85 percent, though it’s been met with legal opposition from the phone companies that have a monopoly on jail and prison telecommunications. Global Tel-Link, the service provider for the 700 phones at both Elmwood Jail in Milpitas and the main jail in San Jose, is asking a judge to delay the ruling.

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Mayor Reed Takes Meeting on Splitting California into Six States

Last month San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed met wit Tim Draper, a venture capitalist who wants to split California into six states.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed eats, sleeps and positively spits pension reform. He slammed through PR in San Jose with the help of voters in 2012, and while Measure B hasn’t accomplished everything he wanted, Reed’s doubled down with a proposed statewide measure (also being challenged in court). Getting the money to put a PR initiative on the state ballot takes beaucoup bucks, which is part of the reason Reed’s been speaking at conferences across the country the last year while rallying support from hedge-fund billionaires like Paul Singer and venture capitalist Michael Moritz. But the topic of one meeting the mayor took last month would dramatically alter his state pension plan.

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Mayor’s Race Gets an Education Forum

On Wednesday, the county Board of Education agreed to participate in a mayoral candidate forum on education. Educate Our State invited the Board be a partner, and the data show a thoughtful discussion is needed. Nineteen of the thirty-one districts in the county are located in San Jose, and nearly 50 percent of San Jose’s public school students test below grade level in math and English.

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Judge Dismisses ‘Patient Dumping’ Lawsuit

A lawsuit accusing a Nevada psychiatric hospital of ‘patient dumping’ was dismissed Thursday by a federal judge. (Photo by Omar Omar, via Flickr)

A federal lawsuit alleging that a state-run mental health clinic in Nevada bused more than 1,500 patients to San Jose and various other cities around the country over the past several years was dismissed last week. But civil rights groups and attorneys say the fight isn’t over.

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The Fact and Fiction of Presidents Day

Happy Presidents Day, George Washington’s birthday, or whatever you want to call it. (Photo by cliff1066, via Flickr)

For most holidays, the meaning is pretty straightforward. On the Fourth of July, the nation celebrates the 1776 signing of the Declaration of Independence. On Memorial Day we remember the military’s men and women who died in active service. Presidents Day is a little more ambiguous—and that’s not even its real name.

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Learning from the Brenden Tiggs Tragedy

On Sunday, Brenden Tiggs, an 18-year-old African American student at San Jose State, committed suicide in his dorm room. According to local media, his dad did not believe the coroner’s ruling, because his son was doing well and seemed happy. While it’s a topic we often don’t like to talk about, suicide rates for young men in the United States are especially troubling.

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The Importance of the Secretary of State and a Stolen Election

Dan Schnur brings impressive credentials to his run for secretary of state, and his recent change in political affiliation might only help his chances. (Photo by Steve Cohn, courtesy of USCViterbiSchool)

Dan Schnur, an independent candidate for California’s secretary of state position, served as a political consultant to John McCain, back when the Arizona senator was still a maverick running against George W. Bush. We have had tremendous disagreements on some policy issues, but we have similar views when it comes to integrity in government, the honesty of elections, the enhancement of voting rights and the education of voters.

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Xavier De La Torre Leaving Post as County Superintendent of Education

Xavier De La Torre could be on his way out as superintendent of the Santa Clara County Office of Education. (Photo courtesy of El Paso Times)

After a rocky year-and-a-half on the job, it appears Santa Clara County Office of Education Superintendent Xavier De La Torre will be heading back to Texas for a job as superintendent of a smaller school district. San Jose Inside reported more than three months ago that De La Torre was on the brink of being fired or resigning after a series of dustups with staff, a dissatisfactory performance review and concerns about a cheating scandal.

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