Oakland weighs banning homeless camps near homes, businesses, schools

As Oakland grapples with the worst homeless crisis in its history, elected officials could restrict the unsheltered from sleeping in parks, and near homes, businesses and schools.

The City Council is expected to vote Tuesday on the new policy, which will designate where people can set up encampments. The city would provide garbage service and sanitation and require makeshift structures to comply with fire and building codes.

City leaders said the new policy is a more humane approach to dealing with the unfolding crisis on Oakland’s streets because city support at the encampments means people won’t live in squalor. More than 3,200 people are unsheltered out of a total homeless population of more than 4,000.

The policy comes as residents and businesses have complained about the blight and public safety issues from encampments. Residents have protested drug dealing, fires and prostitution at tent clusters in their neighborhoods. Businesses say that

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Over 50,000 California homes and businesses without power amid heatwave

More than 50,000 California homes and businesses were without power on Thursday amid an autumn heatwave that brought another round of extreme wildfire danger.

a train that is lit up at night: Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

The utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) began shutting off power Wednesday evening to customers in portions of 24 counties, mainly in the Sierras and the San Francisco Bay Area. Several hundred more customers were to see shutoffs Thursday afternoon in the far north.

Related: California: autumn heatwave sparks fears of new wildfires

The outages were a “last-resort option”, said Mark Quinlan, PG&E’s incident commander.

The National Weather Service had issued heat advisories through Friday for temperatures in the 90s and even triple digits in many parts of the state. Red-flag warnings were up in much of the San Francisco Bay Area, where Diablo winds bringing hot, dry gusts up to 55mph (88.5km/h) were expected to pose

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Which businesses would pay more property tax under Prop. 15?

For more than four decades, privately owned land in California has been taxed under a one-size-fits-all system. Be it a duplex or a delicatessen, a ranch or a sprawling ranch-style home, the same limits apply to all property owners.

Proposition 15 would change that, splitting millions of acres of land and buildings into two categories: one for homeowners — whose tax limits would remain unchanged — and one for businesses, whose property tax payments would rise. The new revenues, totaling as much as $12.5 billion under one independent analysis, would be set aside for local governments and public schools.

Supporters argue the change would mostly affect large corporations, removing the low-tax protections provided by Proposition 13 in 1978 while shielding California’s entrepreneurs and farmers.

But the changes will take time and won’t come easy. While Proposition 15 may target expensive corporate properties, it also takes aim at Californians who own

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