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Camp Fire, Storm Drains, Sweeney Park, Teacher Housing

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Camp Fire Reflections

KQED reporter Lily Jamali reflects on the late-season Camp Fire, now fully contained after destroying nearly 20,000 homes, businesses, and other Butte County structures. Her observations underscore how today’s fires are breaking all the old rules. The “idea that you’d need a winter coat while covering wildfire seemed — quite simply — unnatural,” Jamali wrote. A “stunning” climate report released after Thanksgiving showed fire season is lengthening, but it’s not clear whether new revelations will spark change. Following 2017’s North Bay fires, the Monitor’s Leslie Stewart wrote about air quality communication lessons learned. But a myriad of “What ifs?” smolder as policymakers consider scenarios affecting housing, transportation, and the local economy.


Down with the Drain?

Widespread rainfall this week is expected to minimize further fire risk in most Northern California locations, as well as lift rainfall totals and fill thirsty reservoirs. Yet for all the relief, many storm drains clog and flood. Cities like San Francisco and Oakland are asking residents to maintain them by clearing leaves and debris through “Adopt a Drain” programs. Tap into Robin Meadows’ article from last February for a list of cities with formal programs and to read what residents think about their neighborhood improvement roles.


Saturday in the Park

The City of Alameda will celebrate the opening of the 25-acre Jean Sweeney Open Space Park on Saturday, December 15. The late Jean Sweeney, a community activist, was instrumental in the City’s effort to secure the Alameda Beltline Railroad property — at its original purchase price — upon which the new park sits. The park opening is a reminder about the different ways in which residents donate time and effort to protect land, a key aspect of Aleta George’s article earlier this year about California Latinos’ support of open space access and preservation.


School of Housing

Bay Area school districts are exploring unique approaches to attract and retain teachers who can’t afford to live in the region. San Mateo County’s Jefferson Union High School District will break ground on low-cost apartments to house staff, thanks to a $33 million voter-approved bond, per the East Bay Times. Another district wants to turn some schools into teacher housing. Find out which one, and then cram on housing affordability presentations shared last year during LWVBA’s Bay Area League Day.


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