Day: February 24, 2019

SF Muni Ignores Harassment Allegations and open Pandora’s box

By Bobby Mardis

A brief conversation with Muni Transit Car Cleaner Lead Person, Valerie Taybron, led to spewing an emotional colloquy on why she has been unable to retire from SFMTA.  She stated that she and others are victims of the mismanagement of their retirement funds, and of years of service.  When digging deeper into what was seemingly an obvious error in paperwork, or maybe a simple accounting mistake has opened up Pandora’s box of gross internal mismanagement on surprising levels.  Sexual harassment allegations and retaliation has hit transportation giant, San Francisco MUNI.  Court documents show that Key management officials at Muni have been under investigation for not only blatant harassment, but also the mismanagement that has plagued SFMTA that has led to endless litigation.

Richmond Resident Valerie Taybron is preparing her case with authorities to address not only the sexual harassment allegations, but also retaliation and racial discrimination actions.  Most recently Muni Chief, John Haley stepped down from Sexual Harassment charges towards his assistant, Sabrina Suzuki, who filed a suit, which led to his early retirement. In an SF Examiner article released on October 31, 2018, the problem runs deep with approximately 60 women giving written testimony to the SFMTA on October 22 addressing sexual harassment allegations. In 2016 Sherri Anderson, a SFMTA employee was another victim of sexual harassment and retaliation by management that recently settled her case based on court documents. (Case #: CGC-16-555748)

Although Ms. Taybron has her own separate complaints against Muni, it is well documented that her case is not an isolated incident.  She has reported her allegations to Ed Reiskin, General Manager Public Transportation, John Haley Deputy Director, Donald Ellison, Deputy Director of HR, and Hector Cardenas Local of 1021 with no resolution, or an attempted investigation. Employees suggest that not only are a good number of sexual harassment issues ignored by management, but also accusers have been continually retaliated against for their complaints. 

In the case of Joycelyn Lampkin, a Muni car cleaner, who alleged sexual harassment by her supervisor, Darryl Person, she filed an official grievance with the HR EEO supervisor Maria Valdez with no resolve.  After Mrs. Lampkin took some time off, she returned to work and inquired about the results of the investigation and Mrs. Valdez responded to the alleged incident by stating, and I quote, “You will rot in hell before I will do anything,” per Mrs. Lampkin.  Much like in the recent February 12th Examiner article that spotlighted change, women who formed SFMTA change see the first change in the stepping down of Mr. Donald Ellison.

In a complaint written on October 17, to Mr. Ed Reiskin by Ms. Taybron, she alleged that her complaints were intentionally ignored because she was an African-American Female who had previously won a judgment for similar complaints in the past. Lee Summerlot, the Acting Deputy Director at the time, supplied Taybron with surveillance footage of the theft of her personal property along with tracking for her case.   (Continued)…

Ms. Valerie Taybron, Muni Car Cleaner Lead Person, alleges that not only has the harassment continued, but it has also taken on the form of retaliation. “MUNI management, John Catanach, Acting Deputy Director, and Berry Gehret, supervisor, have allowed me to be violated by being sexually harassed, exposed to continued death threats on the job, the stealing of my personal belongings, denied opportunity on promotions, and maliciously stealing from my 40 years of service so that I cannot retire.” stated Ms. Taybron.  Mr. Taybron also alleged that after she took a fall on the job and that Mr. Gehret refused to call an ambulance for assistance. This continued effort to retaliate against her compounds the mismanagement and harassment abuse.

Ms. Taybron has mentioned that she has gone to the retirement board and Michael Guess, Asst. Manager of Retirement for 11 years to date in hopes of retiring with her full benefits. She was repeatedly denied because of suspiciously missing files that substantiate her retirement.  On October 28, she submitted a request for documents to Kate McClure, Senior benefits analyst, which Taybron stated should have only taken three days based on advisement from her union. She has yet to receive the documents.

The HR department is currently under investigation among other issues, for pressuring the closure of pending cases without investigations. As of 11-28-18 Ms. Taybron has yet to receive proper paperwork for her retirement and her complete years of service.  Per Ms. Taybron, Management called her on 11/8/18 to set up a meeting involving a separate issue, however Ms. Taybron would not agree to meet in person without her representatives.  Hector Cardenas, the Union Senior Operations Manager surprisingly informed Ms. Taybron that he did not get involved with retirement issues. Mr. Cardenas also represents the Parking Controllers within the same union who most recently came out in their harassment allegations and blasted him for not supporting them on allegations of sexual harassment with no response.

Muni Execs have their hands full as a result of mismanagement. They are currently also in a racial discrimination case with a Muni employee, Mr. Sampson Asrot who was denied a promotion as a Mechanic supervisor who he contends was purposely overlooked.  This court case is still pending with a continuance in January of 2019.  Per court documents, it appears that a number of issues surfaced in this case within the discovery process have caught the attention of Government officials.  They are currently investigating other serious issues as they have their eyes set on further sanctions. (Case #: CGC16-552737)

Muni is not alone. Sexual harassment is currently going strong in San Francisco, which is even affecting the tech giant, Google. They most recently ousted close to 50 people in the last two years for sexual harassment in the workplace. None of those fired individuals received exit packages.  Muni’s systemic management problems are running deeper than their ongoing discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment issues.  In a September 2018 Examiner article, even Sarita Britt, the former highest-ranking SFMTA female official stated, “They don’t do thorough investigations.”

Muni is just another SF City and County Department that is suffering from sexual harassment and discrimination issues.  After numerous attempts to contact Muni management, Ed Reiskin and Mr. Canatch as well as Mr. Paul Rose in the media division for a statement, they have not responded, or commented to date.

Accusers say that its time SFMTA management to step up and resolve their internal management issues so the company can run more efficiently. Ms. Taybron apparently has to stand in line and wait her day in court. “My lawyer is currently preparing my complaint,” she stated.  Mayor London Breed has gotten involved because these cases and judgments are undoubtedly costing the city significant resources that trickle down to a single bus fare of MUNI customers citywide.

Galaxy Fold is here — with six cameras and two batteries for $1,980

Samsung’s first truly flexible device converts from a phone to a tablet and will be available April 26.

The foldable future is finally here, and it’s called the Galaxy Fold. Samsung on Wednesday showed off the new foldable phone during its Unpacked event in San Francisco. The device has a 4.6-inch display when folded, and a 7.3-inch display when unfolded into a tablet. The phone will be available April 26 at a starting price of $1,980 (about £1,500 or AU$2,800). It’ll come in four colors: cosmos black, space silver, Martian green and astro blue. Apps shown off for the Galaxy Fold include YouTube, Netflix and Facebook. 

The Galaxy Fold comes with 12 gigabytes of RAM and batteries on each side of the foldable phone, said Justin Denison, Samsung’s senior vice president of mobile marketing. 

The gadget has six cameras, with three on the back, one on the front and two inside, Denison said. The phone will come in two versions, with a 4G and a 5G edition.

The three rear cameras are a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a 16-megapixel ultra wide camera. The two cameras inside are a 10-megapixel selfie camera and an 8-megapixel depth camera. The camera on the front is also a 10-megapixel selfie camera.

The Galaxy Fold does not have a microSD slot, and it comes with 512GB of memory. Its fingerprint scanner is on the phone’s side, like the Galaxy S10E, instead of using an ultrasonic, in-screen fingerprint reader like the rest of the Galaxy S10 line-up. 

That’s “so users can access it if it’s open or closed,” Drew Blackard, Samsung senior director of product marketing, said in an interview after Unpacked.

The Fold will be available initially only for AT&T and T-Mobile in the US, Samsung said. It’s unclear about availability in other markets.

Blackard added that all regular Android apps will work on the Galaxy Fold. If developers enable them to scale, like when a phone shifts from portrait mode to landscape mode, they’ll adjust for the tablet mode as well. Developers will have to tweak the apps to take advantage of the multi-window feature and app continuity, he said.

Most major apps will be altered to work with the foldable format, Blackard said.

“Integration is simple for developers,” he said.

Samsung has been talking about a foldable phone for years and finally revealed a prototype in November. It uses a new screen technology called Infinity Flex Display that, Samsung says, lets you repeatedly open and close the device without screen degradation.

The Galaxy Fold is a compact smartphone when closed and a more expansive tablet when fully opened. Apps seamlessly transition between the display sizes, letting you pick up on the tablet where you left off on the smartphone. When the device is unfolded, you can use three active apps through something Samsung calls Multi Active Window.

The launch of the foldable phone was accompanied by a host of announcements, including the introduction of Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S10 smartphones.

Nearly the entire phone industry is experimenting with foldable devices. They’re seen as the next major leap in design and a way to get us interested in phones again. People are holding onto their smartphones longer than before, and it’s getting harder to justify a pricey upgrade given the relatively minor tweaks made every year. The hope is that foldables can change that and introduce a new way of interacting with electronics.

READ MORE: https://www.cnet.com/news/galaxy-fold-is-here-with-six-cameras-two-batteries-for-1980/#ftag=COS-04-10aaa1a

The Downfall of Jussie Smollett

It has been painful to watch the downfall of the actor Jussie Smollett. 

By now, you are familiar with his story. In January he claimed to have been attacked by two Trump supporters on a cold night in Chicago. Smollett, who is gay and black, recounted that they shouted “This is MAGA country,” roughed him up, called him racial and homophobic slurs and put a noose around his neck.

But according to Chicago police, it was all a hoax. The actor practiced and staged the charade and paid two co-conspirators — Abimbola and Olabinjo Osundairo — to carry out the attack, authorities say, because he was dissatisfied with his salary on the show “Empire,” for which he has a starring role. In the immediate aftermath of Smollett’s claim, we wrote about the unique challenge of being black and gay, and how that identity can make one feel especially vulnerable. “Jussie is us. That could’ve been any of us,” said a friend of my colleague Pierre-Antoine Louis.

A few of you wrote in to say that Smollett’s story sounded fishy from the very beginning and that it was too soon to jump to conclusions. That, as we have learned, was absolutely right. But it is also true that hate crimes have been on the rise for three years, and that three out of five hate crimes in 2017 were motivated by race.

Once the news broke that the reported attack may have been orchestrated by Smollett, Pierre said he felt “embarrassed” and was worried that people would question his own experience. But he added: “Just because there’s one false report doesn’t mean that the issues we face daily aren’t real.”

False reports of hate crimes are extremely rare — less than 1 percent of those reported, according to some studies — but they tend to draw attention, making it easier for people to denounce them as identity politics run amok, or simply what happens when we treat victimhood as currency.

Smollett was arrested on a felony charge Thursday, and his legal team has denied the claims made by the police. “He wants nothing more than to clear his name,” said Jack Prior, one of Smollett’s lawyers.

Eddie T. Johnson, the superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, was visibly upset during a news conference about Smollett. He said the actor had taken advantage of the pain and anger of racism, draining resources that could have been used to investigate crimes for which people were actually suffering.

“I just wish that the families of gun violence in this city got this much attention,” he said. 

I do too.