Short Cuts

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Resident Shot

Last month, Potrero Hill resident, Jesus Sandoval, headed to the Mission for a night out, according to Rebecca Muzquiz, a friend who spoke with him at her aunt’s house, where Sandoval had been living.  “I remember Jesse asking me for hair gel before he went out,” she said, adding that he generally wore his long, curly hair tightly pulled back. It was their last conservation. Hours later, Sandoval was found by police outside El Farolito suffering from a gunshot wound. He later succumbed to his injuries.  Although Sandoval had spent the last six years of his life living with Muzquiz’s aunt and other family members in Potrero Hill, the Mission – where the 35-year-old spent much of his youth – remained his stomping grounds. “He loved to go to the Mission and meet friends. He’d come to the Mission to go out,” said Muzquiz.  The families had known each other for years; she and Sandoval, who went by the nickname Jesse, were close. During the day, she said, he worked as a mover’s assistant with different moving companies, a job that would sometimes take him across the country. Sandoval was born on Christmas Eve, 1981, in Gilroy, California.

Port Payout

BAE Systems, the ship repair giant that operated drydocks at Pier 70 for more than a decade before walking away last year, has agreed to pay the Port of San Francisco $4.9 million to help fund improvements needed to lure a new operator to the facility.  In 2016, BAE sold its Pier 70 operations to Washington state-based Puglia Engineering for $1 along with the company’s acceptance of $38 million in pension liabilities.  Soon after, in a lawsuit yet to be resolved, Puglia sued BAE, alleging that the drydocks had “deteriorated to an extent that it would cost $9 million” to fix them, and that an additional $12 million in dredging is needed.  The Port Commission has issued a request for proposals for a new operator for the repair yard, which includes two drydocks, 15 acres of land, numerous buildings, and port-owned cranes.

Little Boxes

District 10 Supervisor Malia Cohen wants to undo a 2014 municipal law that requires AT&T to decorate its utility boxes with greenery and murals, and plant a tree near them if possible.  Under Cohen’s proposal, AT&T could pay up to $3,500 per unit instead of beautifying the boxes.  AT&T stopped rolling out its boxes after the 2014 law was enacted. Cohen, who is running for the California Board of Equalization, received a $7,300 campaign donation from AT&T’s lobbying firm earlier this summer…In other Cohen-related news, a group of tobacco manufacturers, vaping advocacy groups, and the Arab American Grocers Association is collecting signatures for a referendum to repeal the recently-adopted ban on flavored tobacco.  Cohen, who sponsored the prohibition, called the action a “ridiculous attempt to put profit over people’s health.”

New Union

Last month, after four years of strikes and boycotts, the first new farmworker union in the United States in a quarter-century, Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ), ratified a labor contract with Sakuma Brothers Farms, a Washington State berry producer. FUJ members mostly come from towns in Oaxaca and southern Mexico, where people speak indigenous languages that were centuries old when the Spanish colonized the Americas. “We are part of a movement of indigenous people,” said Felimon Pineda, FUJ vice president. An immigrant from Jicaral Cocoyan de las Flores in Oaxaca, he said organizing the union is part of a fight against the discrimination indigenous people face in Mexico and the United States.  “Sometimes people see us as being very low. They think we have no rights. They’re wrong. The right to be human is the same.” According to Rosalinda Guillen, director of Community2Community, an advocacy organization that helped the workers organize, “Indigenous culture plays a huge role, especially people’s collective decision-making process. The strong bonds of culture and language give the union a lot of its strength.” Sakuma Brothers hires about 450 workers a year to pick strawberries and blueberries from June through October in its fields in Burlington and Mt. Vernon, Washington. About half live locally; half come north for the picking season from Santa Maria, Madera, Livingston, and other California farmworker towns. The migrants from the south live in the company’s labor camps during the work.