Short Cuts

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Concrete Timber

For nearly a decade cross-laminated timber — a layered material billed as “the concrete of the future” — has been widely used in Europe and Canada because of its low carbon footprint and handsome woodsy grain.  In Showplace Square, developer SKS Partners is finishing 1 De Haro, a 134,000-square-foot, five-story edifice that’ll become headquarters for Samsara, a logistics-oriented hardware and cloud-based software company. While the neighborhood’s light industrial zoning required that the structure’s lower floor be concrete, the rest is made of timber harvested from Forest Stewardship Council-certified black spruce forests in northern Quebec. The cross-laminated timber panels that make up 1 De Haro consist of multiple layers of kiln-dried lumber boards stacked together with adhesives. The wood was fabricated into precise components before being transported to Stockton by rail and trucked over the Altamont Pass to San Francisco. The material generates minimal waste on-site, is fire-resistant and performs well in earthquakes. In addition to being more sustainable than steel or concrete — both of which emit significant amounts of carbon dioxide during their manufacturing — CLT allows for more rapid construction because each panel is prefabricated.

Games People Play

“Grand Theft Auto” video game maker Take-Two Interactive is buying Zynga for $11 billion in a cash-and-stock agreement that’ll add popular mobile titles such as “FarmVille” under its umbrella as demand surges for on-the-go gaming. The deal will create a gaming powerhouse with a market capitalization of nearly $30 billion, spanning console, personal computers and mobile devices at a time when more people are gaming on their smartphones. “It’s a bombshell deal…Zynga was on the list of potential M&A transactions for a long time in the video game business,” said Serkan Toto, chief executive officer of videogame consulting firm Kantan Games. “Take-Two is looking at the industry map and says, ‘we have basically nothing here.’ So, a lot of people have been expecting Take-Two to make a big deal in mobile to close the gap with competitors like Electronic Arts, for example.” The transaction is expected to close by mid-2022. 

District Attorney

Last month civil rights attorney Joe Alioto Veronese announced his candidacy for San Francisco District Attorney. The scion of a political family — he’s the namesake of his grandfather, Joseph L. Alioto, who served as mayor from 1968 to 1976 — Veronese told the View that while “I come with a name with a history of service to this City, I’m not relying on that, which is why I’m getting in early.” Veronese filed to run in November 2023; he’ll re-file for 2022 if Chesa Boudin is recalled this June, which’d prompt a special election in November. Veronese has some commonalities with Boudin — he supports elimination of cash bail — but stressed that he wants to end the back-and-forth between law enforcement and the top prosecutor’s office. “I’m not running against Chesa,” Veronese said. “My goal is to represent the people of San Francisco who are tired of their cars being broken into, who are tired of feeling unsafe.” Veronese said his experience as a state criminal justice commissioner, a San Francisco police commissioner and work for former District Attorney Terence Hallinan qualifies him for the job. “I’ve got a great relationship with law enforcement, with first responders, but I have a history of not pandering to them, of keeping them accountable,” Veronese said. “I am confident I can bridge the gap between law enforcement and creating an equitable criminal justice system.”

Two Bits

The United States Mint has issued quarters featuring the image of poet Maya Angelou, initial coins in its American Women Quarters Program, marking the first appearance of a Black woman’s picture on the coin. Cause for celebration, no doubt, but also an indication of the diminishing value of round pieces of metal as currency in this virtual age. Women – and African Americans – often only get invited to a party when it’s time to clean up.  When females enter professions in greater numbers, pay declines for the same jobs that more men had been doing. That is, employers frequently place a lower value on work done by women. “It’s not that women are always picking lesser things in terms of skill and importance,” said Paula England, a sociology professor at New York University. “It’s just that the employers are deciding to pay it less.” A striking example is the recreation field — working in parks; leading camps — which went from predominantly male to female from 1950 to 2000, during which median hourly wages declined by 57 percent, accounting for changes in the value of the dollar. The job of ticket agent also went from mainly male to female during this period; wages dropped 43 percent. The same thing happened when women in large numbers became designers, wages fell 34 percent, housekeepers, a 21 percent decline, and biologists, down 18 percent. The reverse is true when a job attracts more men. Computer programming, for instance, used to be a menial role done by women. When male programmers began to outnumber females, the gig began paying more and gained prestige…The phenomenon is why a female U.S. President is inevitable, now that former President Donald Trump has so deeply devalued the office.