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APEC Protests Kick Off
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit, an annual free trade conference attended by representatives of 21 Pacific Rim countries and held this year in San Francisco, brought out 20,000 attendees and over a thousand protesters, KQED reports. No To APEC, a coalition of over 100 grassroots groups held protests every day of the conference, which runs from November 11-17. Activist Nik Evasco described the protesters to KQED as “a very broad intersectional coalition that touches on diaspora peoples from the Global South, labor and the climate bloc.” According to PBS, protestors were opposed to corporate profiteering and environmental degradation associated with the free trade conference and also criticized the U.S. government for providing weapons to Israel amid its siege on Gaza. One group of protesters dropped a banner reading “STOP PALESTINIAN GENOCIDE” over the Vermont overpass in San Francisco, a Wednesday action blocked streets to attendees attempting to enter the conference “CEO Summit,” and a Thursday demonstration halted traffic on the Bay Bridge.
But the area around the conference is heavily securitized, with police officers and federal law enforcement agencies securing several blocks around the Moscone Center. San Francisco officials also cleared hundreds of unsheltered homeless people from the security zone, and advocates say the move was illegal.
Coalition Funds Heat Pump Subsidies in Washington State
Bloomberg reports that a coalition of groups on Whidbey Island in Washington has subsidized the installation of 117 heat pumps through a project funded by a $100 million grant from Washington State University. Heat pumps move heat in and out of homes in a more energy-efficient manner than gas furnaces or air conditioners, but their installation can cost between $3,500 and $20,000, according to Bloomberg. Rebates for heat pumps were funded in the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act, but do not factor in the installation cost.
Evictions Drove Homelessness in New Jersey
A report from New Jersey’s Office of Homelessness Prevention found that the chief drivers of homelessness in 2022 were evictions and being kicked out of shared living spaces. More than 11,200 people experienced at least one day of homelessness in New Jersey in 2022, a 20% increase from the year before. Thirty-seven percent of them — 4,120 people — were stably housed in 2021, according to the report, and 23.6% of people experienced homelessness after they were “asked to leave shared residence,” the most common cause cited in the report. Evictions accounted for 16.44% of people who became homeless, 8.6% of people became homeless after loss of work, and 3.9% were homeless as a result of drug abuse. Evictions in the state grew 5% between 2021 and 2022, according to the report.
Traffic Fatalities Increased as Miles Driven Decreased
According to an analysis of federal traffic records by Stateline, traffic deaths grew 18% between 2019 and 2022 even though miles traveled decreased by 3%. In Washington state, traffic deaths increased 38% in that time frame, reaching a 30-year high. In Vermont, traffic fatalities grew 64% and in Connecticut 54%. Most of the change is the result of speeding, careless driving and drug and alcohol use.
Many states are weighing increases to speed cameras to address the problem, despite criticism that low-income drivers are disproportionately impacted. A bill in Philadelphia would expand speed cameras city-wide in work zones and is pending discussion in a state senate committee. Speed cameras installed in Philadelphia in 2020 cut fatalities in half, according to Stateline.
Overdose Prevention Centers Did Not Increase Crime
A report from the American Medical Association found that overdose prevention centers in New York City in late 2021 did not lead to an increase in crime, Gothamist reports. NYC has two safe injection sites, one in Washington Heights and one in Harlem, where drug users are able to consume illicit drugs under medical supervision. Both are run by the nonprofit One Point NYC. Staff have intervened in more than 1,000 potentially fatal overdoses since those centers opened two years ago. Calls for medical attention in the area surrounding the centers decreased by 50% since they opened, while reports of crime decreased 30%.
Curated by Deonna Anderson
A proposed law in Oakland could ban single-use packaging for food and beverage vendors. Oaklandside
In Oregon, a dam removal project is expected to revive dwindling salmon populations. Axios Portland
In an analysis of documented traffic stops in Massachusetts between 2014 and 2020, reporters found that in 28% of stops “involving male drivers with Hispanic last names, police identified the driver as white on their citations.” This skews statistics that can expose bias in police interactions with the public. USA Today
This article is part of The Weekly Wrap, a newsletter rounding up stories that explain the problems oppressing people in cities and elevate the solutions bringing us closer to economic, environmental and social justice. Click here to subscribe to The Weekly Wrap newsletter.
Roshan Abraham is Next City's housing correspondent and a former Equitable Cities fellow. He is based in Queens. Follow him on Twitter at @roshantone.