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Monitor Notes: Women’s Equality, Housing Shortage, 680 Lanes, Heat and Health, De-Pave Park

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


Women Power the Vote

Women’s Equality Day is August 26, marking the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution that gave women the right to vote nationally. The League of Women Voters was founded just months before the amendment’s passage, and many local Leagues are organizing day-of, virtual events to help people learn how the Suffrage Movement continues to impact community organizing and ensure fair access to the polls. LWV Oakland is organizing a celebration from 12 to 1:30 p.m. focused on “Empowering Voters and Strengthening Democracy Past and Present.” Later, LWV San Francisco is hosting a 5 p.m. discussion about “Women in Politics Today: A Progress Report.” Both events feature guest line-ups that include everyone from elected officials to historians and journalists. Be sure to register early and, as always, check with your own local League for more events, especially as the November 3 election nears.


Tackling the Housing Shortage

Join LWV Palo Alto for an online seminar about “Housing in the Bay Area: How We Got Here and What Will Bring About Change.” The September 2 noontime event will feature Randy Tsuda (pictured), president and CEO of Alta Housing, a nonprofit developer. Tsuda is expected to share his own reflections on change and growth in the Bay Area and offer suggestions for fixing the housing shortage. Alta Housing recently broke ground on an affordable housing community in Mountain View. Register for the League luncheon here.


Talk About Tolls

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is asking residents to get up to speed on its express lane toll policies and submit comments about them through September 9. Currently, MTC and the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) are preparing to roll out express lanes on an 11-mile stretch of southbound Interstate 680 from Martinez through Walnut Creek in early 2021. The Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA), a joint powers authority between MTC and the Bay Area Toll Authority, operates MTC’s express lanes. A virtual public hearing is set for a September 23 BAIFA meeting.


Playing It Cool

Extreme heat events, like the one the Bay Area’s now experiencing, drove a University of Southern California study looking at the risks of not having access to air conditioning. Kelly Sanders (pictured), a USC civil and environmental engineering professor, said she and her team looked at issues related to temperature and energy use, based on smart meter utility records. They found that low-income communities in Los Angeles are disproportionately hurt by lack of AC access and related public health threats. About 30 percent of the census tracts identified as most vulnerable are expected to experience as many as 32 extreme heat days per year, data that’s “a big deal from a public policy perspective,” Sanders said. Listen to Sanders explain the research in a Resources magazine radio interview and the policy pushes she said are necessary to reduce risks when the mercury rises.


Park Proposal

City of Alameda officials are considering a proposal that re-imagines a paved tarmac along San Francisco Bay into an ecological park that adapts to sea-level rise. The future wetlands park — being called De-Pave Park for now — would sit along the 14-acre western edge of Seaplane Lagoon at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. Last week, the city’s recreation and parks commission unanimously endorsed a vision plan for the $14 million project, according to an East Bay Times article. It includes walking and bike paths and ecology overlooks for bird-watching. The city council will review plans next month.


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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