Jan. 12, 2011
Half of all people arrested by federal immigration authorities in Sonoma County in the past two years were never convicted of any crime, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) statistics obtained by Patch.
Out of more than 500 people arrested or booked into ICE custody from October 2008 through September 2010, 286 were labeled non-criminal, despite being apprehended under ICE’s Secure Communities program, a new effort aimed at rooting out violent criminal aliens. Read the full story.
It was evening when the stranger knocked on Carmen Ruiz‘s door. The young man with ruddy cheeks and gel in his hair said that he had heard from an acquaintance that Ruiz, a 57-year-old grandmother of three, was having a hard time making payments on her home.
Ruiz had indeed gone looking for help in the community, inquiring at a local travel agency about someone who could lend her money or help refinance her mortgage. There, she was told about a real estate agent who was known to help fellow Latinos, “an angel who had done so much for people.”
Now this angel stood on Ruiz’s front steps and was asking to come in. His name was Edwin Parada and he was a pastor at a local church, he said. Ruiz welcomed him into her tiny home and quickly began pouring out her troubles. Read the full story.
July 21, 2005
Stockton had the state’s highest per capita rate of violent crime last year, putting it ahead of bigger cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, according to an analysis of FBI statistics. The statistics also show that the Stockton metropolitan area — a region that includes the city and nearby unincorporated areas — ranks among the top five California cities plagued with high rates of robbery, vehicle thefts, aggravated assaults and murder.
The Clean Room Paradox
An industry long touted as clean, may be deadly for workers, many of them people of color
For Armida Mesa, getting a job at IBM was a dream come true.
“I thought I’d be taken care of for life,” says Mesa, who was proud to be on the payroll of one of the leaders of the electronics industry, a manufacturer of disk drives, software, and computer chips.
Then in 1985, after working for the company for nearly twenty years, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In the “clean room,” Mesa was in frequent contact with chemicals such as isopropyl alcohol and epichlorophydrin, a known carcinogen.
“You keep on living your life and you don’t really analyze that this stuff is making you sick,” the 56 year-old says today. “You just don’t think about it.”
Now Mesa is one of fifty clean room workers taking part in a lawsuit accusing IBM and other high-tech companies of “withholding vital information that workers could and would have used to protect” themselves. The suit, filed by San José attorneys Amanda Hawes and Richard Alexander, also targets suppliers of chemicals used in the industry — from freon and xylene to acetone and arsenic — including Shell, Eastman Kodak, and Dupont Corporation. “They knew what they were exposing them to,” says Hawes, “but chose to not do anything about it.” Read the full story.
Long Hours, Per-Piece Rates Norm for High-Tech Home Workers
Toiling long hours at a factory for a salary below the minimum wage seems something straight out of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle.” But for many immigrants living in Silicon Valley, it’s an everyday reality. Working 10 to 12 hours a day at the electronics companies dotting this part of Northern California, they are a crucial component of an industry where every pause means lost money.They work robotically around the clock, sometimes not stopping even once they return home. It’s a hidden population, comprised of mostly Southeast Asian immigrants, many of whom do not speak English or know their rights. Read the full story.
With land becoming such a hot commodity in the Silicon Valley, contractors don’t care where they build. Some have looked to blighted areas, some with a history of contamination, as a chance to create yet another business park or residential neighborhood, often at a discounted price. And the scariest part of all is that there is virtually no oversight.
Known as brownfields, these lots were once considered off limits and fenced off, but they are now being marketed all over the South Bay, made even more attractive by a handsome discount that can be as high as fifty percent.
“The perception is that they are contaminated,” says Arnold Peters, a policy analyst for the Senate Environmental Quality Committee in Sacramento. “But nobody knows for sure. And nobody wants to spend money to find out.” Read the full story.