News From Our Partners

Water Restrictions: Meaning of ‘Mandatory’ Depends on Where You Live

By Craig Miller, KQED News Fix/Science

Two of the Bay Area’s highest-profile water agencies enacted their versions of “mandatory” water restrictions on Tuesday.

Customers of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission are facing an edict to cut outdoor water use by 10 percent. But as a practical matter, the order applies mainly to the Commission’s 1,600 customers with separate metered water accounts for landscape irrigation — golf courses, parks and the like. Those customers who fail to comply could see their water rates doubled. SFPUC General Manager Harlan Kelly called it, “a small, but important step.”

 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/Science.

Neighbors Scrutinize Mission Street Makeover

By Laura Wenus, Mission Local

When it comes to designing the future face of the Mission’s main thoroughfare, there is one thing lots of people can agree on: They do not want another Valencia Street.

What residents who packed a conference room late last week at the Women’s Building do want for Mission Street includes everything from the practical — more bike parking, more sidewalk space, more restrooms at BART stations — to broader principles, including preserving the cultural identity of the area and protecting it from gentrification.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

Rental Brokers Blamed for S.F. Housing Crisis

By Ben Trefny, NRP.org

Online rental brokers like Airbnb, VRBO and Flipkey in San Francisco may be finding some success renting to visitors on a nightly basis, but people concerned about a shrinking rental market have turned to legal action and protests.

In the city's North Beach neighborhood, for example, protesters recently gathered around a three-unit apartment with flats an online broker rents to vacationers. This used to be the rent-controlled home of elderly tenants until out-of-town investors bought the building and evicted the residents.

Read the complete story at NPR.org

Thinking More Strategically About Bay Area Economy

By Ben Trefny and Edward Muldoon, KALW Crosscurrents

The Bay Area is constantly evolving. We have gone from the Gold Rush to Silicon Valley; shifted from boom to bust, and back again. It can feel a little bit like déjà vu. Back in 2000, just before the dot-com bubble burst, unemployment in San Francisco was at an all-time low of 3 percent. It is nearing that again — approaching what economists call "full employment," meaning, statistically anyway, there are jobs for everyone who wants one.

But what story do these numbers really tell? Where is the job growth, and who is benefiting? A recent study shows that the gap between rich and poor is growing faster in San Francisco than in any other city in the country. To answer some of these questions, KALW’s Ben Trefny sat down with Tracey Grose from the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

Listen to the interview at KALW Crosscurrents. 

Can San Francisco’s Video Stores Be Saved?

By Jon Brooks, KQED News Fix 

You have to keep in mind just how few options there were back then. I’m talking pre-'80s, before the VCR became the first in a long line of accessories to turn your TV into the culture’s central nervous system of escapism. You could go to retro houses or watch truncated old movies on television (interrupted by mood-shattering commercials). But those were essentially passive choices; you might find Citizen Kane, or it might be Abbott and Costello Meet The Mummy. You watched for a variety of reasons, one of them being “because it’s there.”

That is why I remember my first visit to a video store as a sort of cornucopian dream, a lavish spectacle that satisfied a deeply rooted desire. Dorothy’s first glimpse of Oz, exploding with color after a life of rural black and white. Or that famous Twilight Zone, when the suicidal bookworm and lone survivor of a nuclear war otherwise known as Burgess Meredith happens upon the intact contents of the New York Public Library.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Day Laborers Find Jobs Scarce

By Guadalupe González, Mission Local

It is  a bright Thursday morning, and 10 men are outside the San Francisco Day Labor Program and Women’s Collective. Inside,  30 more men sit in the waiting room. A few check e-mail and Facebook on the four computers available. In the back, a thin man plucks the strings of a guitar. All of the day laborers are waiting patiently for their names to be called for work.

By 11 a.m., no one had been called.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

New Public Land Plan May Rein In Bay Area dogs

By Tiffany Camhi, KALW Crosscurrents

Just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, a few miles from Muir Woods, lies Muir Beach. The beautiful and peaceful waterfront is a favorite among locals, travelers and man’s best friend.

But letting that dog off leash could soon be a thing of the past at Muir Beach and other open spaces in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Next year, the 80,000 acres of the GGNRA’s land, from San Mateo County to Marin County, will begin to operate under a new management plan for dogs. The proposed plan is an effort to regulate the rising number of dogs and visitors to the park. And it has sparked a slow-burning controversy over how to use our public land.

Read the complete story at KALW Crosscurrents. 

California’s Biggest Water Source Shrouded in Secrecy

By Lauren Sommer, KQED News Fix/KQED Science

There’s an “alarming lack of information” about California’s biggest reservoir, finds a major new analysis of the state’s groundwater resources.

As water levels dwindle in California’s rivers and reservoirs, many farmers and water districts are relying on the state’s vast underground reservoirs instead. In drought years, groundwater provides up to 60 percent of California’s water supply, according to rough estimates by state officials.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/KQED Science

A New Life for Longtime Shelter for Those With AIDS

By Leslie Nguyen-Okwu, Mission Local

Before its closure in 2010, a house called “Marty’s Place” served as a private homeless shelter for those living with HIV/AIDS. Soon the longtime institution, on Treat and 25th, will open again; when it does, it will become the first permanently affordable housing cooperative for the city’s LGBTQ community living with HIV/AIDS.

A Victorian built in 1895 whose muraled garage door opens out to Balmy Alley, Marty’s Place offers a particularly charming new model for affordable housing. It will be owned and managed by the tenants who inhabit it.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

In San Francisco, One Dying Forest Waits for Action

By Becca Andrews, Bay Nature

Walk a few feet into the jungle on the west side of San Francisco’s Mount Sutro Open Space Reserve, and you will come to an unusual three-headed eucalyptus tree. Its single trunk is firmly rooted, and three trees sprout tenuously from the base, limbs stretching out away from the prevailing west wind and into the tangle of brown and green that dominates this 61-acre open space area.

We are standing to the left of the trunk as a group of four cyclists pause to study the Cerberus and debate their route. The apparent quirk of nature is an unexpected gift during their workout — they glance at the tree, they glance at their phones, they glance at the tree, they glance at each other, they glance at the tree.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature.