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I’m writing to bring awareness to the current problems we face at 850 Bryant St., on the Seventh Floor in the San Francisco County Jail. Not only for months do the toilets constantly overflow, causing us to have to smell fecal matter all day, but also they serve us dinner at 3:30 p.m. every day but let the trays sit in the hallway for two hours before we receive them, so we have only cold food every single meal. Now, in addition, when it rains, the roof leaks rusty water on my bed.
In a major class action lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court here, conditions at the Alameda County Jail at Santa Rita sound more like they come out of a Charles Dickens novel than a modern day correctional facility. At a press conference Wednesday, Jan. 31, lawyers for pregnant prisoners at Santa Rita claim their clients are being inhumanely mistreated by jail personnel, urged to have abortions and routinely denied medical attention, warm clothing, nutritious food, blankets and even fresh air.
As the Trump government rolls out executive orders against refugees and other immigrants, Bay Area leaders and residents are bracing for possible cuts in federal grants to sanctuary cities. In our region, these include San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda, which do not turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities if they have not committed a crime. But there is one area where we should welcome cuts and reject federal funding: militarized counter-terrorist police training.
All of this was more than a reaction to the Occupy movement. It’s best understood as the latest battle between police and residents in at least two years of civil unrest in the city, beginning with the killing of Oscar Grant by ex-transit officer Johannes Mehserle on New Year’s Day 2009.