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Nation and world briefs, Nov. 8, 2017


Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Soaring Silicon Valley costs put homes out of reach for poor

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In the same affluent, suburban city where Google built its headquarters, Tes Saldana lives in a crowded but tidy camper she parks on the street.

She concedes it’s “not a very nice living situation,” but it also is not unusual. Until authorities told them to move, more than a dozen other RVs filled with people who can’t afford rent joined Saldana on a tree-lined street in Mountain View, parked between a Target and a luxury apartment complex.

Homeless advocates and city officials say it’s outrageous that in the shadow of a booming tech economy — where young millionaires dine on $15 wood-grilled avocado and think nothing of paying $1,000 for an iPhone X — thousands of families can’t afford a home. Many of the homeless work regular jobs, in some cases serving the very people whose sky-high net worth is the reason housing has become unaffordable for so many.

Across the street from Saldana’s camper, for example, two-bedroom units in the apartment complex start at $3,840, including concierge service. That’s more than she brings home, even in a good month.

Saldana and her three adult sons, who live with her, have looked for less rustic accommodations, but rents are $3,000 a month or more, and most of the available housing is distant. She said it makes more sense to stay in the camper near their jobs and try to save for a brighter future, even if a recent city crackdown chased them from their parking spot.

Anti-gay-marriage clerk to seek re-election

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples will run for re-election in 2018, facing voters for the first time since her protest against gay marriage in rural Appalachia provoked a national uproar.

Kim Davis could face a familiar foe: A gay man to whom she refused to issue a marriage license said he’s seriously considering running against her.

“I think I could win,” said David Ermold, an English professor at Pikeville University who was among the many who sued Davis in 2015. “I don’t think that she has learned anything from the experience at all. I really, truly think that she feels like she is right. I really don’t think she cares at all about what civil rights are.”

Mat Staver, founder of the Florida-based law firm Liberty Counsel, which represented Davis during the months’long controversy, confirmed Tuesday that she will seek a second term. He said Davis was unavailable for comment because of a medical procedure.

“She loves her job and she loves the people,” Staver said. “I’m sure (the election) will probably have more attention because of who she is, but you know she doesn’t have any major concerns about it.”