Front page of Issue 16

The winter 2015 print edition is in stores now. Special report on the persistence of segregation in local public schools. Plus: 24-page insert commemorating the now shuttered weekly San Francisco Bay Guardian, produced by the newspaper’s former staff.

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News From Our Partners

High Rents and Low Wages Trap Chinese Immigrants in SROs

By Melanie YoungKALW/New America Media

Tenants are facing a tough time in San Francisco. The city has some of the nation’s highest rents, and laws like the Ellis Act have made evictions front page news. But there are pockets of affordability, like in Chinatown, where the average rent is one-third as much as in other neighborhoods.

But the neighborhood is also one of the country’s most overcrowded, and tenants claim that landlords violate health and safety codes.

In response to rising rents and shoddy housing, a group of low-income, mostly elderly Chinatown renters have crossed language and cultural barriers to change to their neighborhood. 

Read the complete story at New America Media.

Editor's Note: This story originally aired on KALW-FM. 

A 2020 Vision: Zero Waste in San Francisco

By Adam Teitelbaum, KALW Crosscurrents

“The goal is zero waste by 2020, and we think that is an achievable goal.”

Those words from former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom  in 2009 promoted the idea of diverting all waste from landfills. It was actually an official resolution passed  in the Willie Brown administration. Now, in 2014, Mayor Ed Lee claims the city has reached 80 percent diversion. Whether or not that debatable claim is true, there is a long way to go to reach the goal. So what is it going to take to achieve zero waste by 2020?

Read the complete story at KALW Crosscurrents. 

Lady Gaga: California Water-Conservation Cheerleader

By Dan Brekke, KQED News Fix

California’s water bureaucracy has approved penalties against the hydro-criminals among us who do things like wash sidewalks and dump too much water on our lawns. Penalties could be as much as $500 per offense. It remains to be seen how the scores and scores of water agencies that will need to enforce the new rules will actually do it, though. If San Francisco and its massive Hetch Hetchy system are any indication, our new water cops will hand out warnings before trying to impose fines.

But both the state and the city are also going to try a softer, pop culture-based approach to winning over the water-wasting public.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

Nonprofits Struggle With Influx of Immigrant Youth

By Leslie Nguyen-Okwu, Mission Local

The Bay Area, and the Mission in particular, has long been a refuge for immigrants fleeing their country of origin for refuge. However, with a surging number of predominantly young migrants escaping intensified violence in Central America, the Mission District’s leading immigrant advocacy organizations are assisting underage migrants in need like they never have before.

Every week, unaccompanied children arrive in their lobbies seeking help for everything from imminent deportation to reuniting with loved ones in the Bay Area. The Central American Resource Center (CARECEN) estimates that 200 to 250 unaccompanied minors are arriving in the Bay Area each month.

These organizations are struggling to keep up with the demand.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 

Photo Essay: Life Inside San Francisco’s Single Room Occupancy Hotels

By KQED News Staff/KQED News Fix

We’ve been covering the housing crisis for a while now, so we’re quite taken with this photo essay looking at a little-explored component of San Francisco’s housing stock. “Life Inside S.F.’s Vanishing Single Resident Occupancies,” by James Hosking and Jeremy Lybarger, was published Friday in The Bold Italic.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Lost Weekend Video and Hard Transitions for Mission District Businesses

 By Rigoberto Hernandez, Mission Local

It is become a common San Francisco cry: If you want your beloved business to stay in the city, you need to support it. Several Mission businesses have tried new ways to rally their customers and pivot their operations, but in a changing retail environment, it is tough going.

Viracocha hosted a fundraiser to help the vintage store transform into a properly licensed event space. Before being pushed out of its original location on 16th Street, Adobe Books successfully rallied its fans and raised more than $61,000 via Indiegogo to re-imagine itself as an arts cooperative. Now, Lost Weekend Video is the latest neighborhood institution to ask its customers if they still want them around. If the answer is yes, then they are encouraging people to patronize them, or risk losing them as early as next May when their lease expires.

Read the complete story at Mission Local. 


State Officials Consider Mandatory Limits on Outdoor Watering

By Dan Brekke, KQED Science/News Fix

California water officials, confronting the possibility that the state’s drought will continue into a fourth year, are proposing a strict set of new regulations that would bar residential water users from hosing down sidewalks and overwatering their lawns. Violation of the new rules could carry penalties of $500 per violation.

The regulations were unveiled Wednesday in Sacramento by Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. She said the severity of the current drought, now in its third year, makes it imperative to crack down on wasteful water use.

Read the complete story at KQED Science/News Fix. 

Double Charged: True Co$t of Juvenile Justice

By Myles Bess, KALW Crosscurrents

Standing in the hallway outside a hearing room at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center, you see benches filled with teenagers and their families–waiting to appear in court–many dressed up in button-down shirts and ties, looking their Sunday best. A lot of moms, too, and little brothers and sisters who would clearly rather be elsewhere.

Many teens are here for trials and probation hearings, but on any given day, others are trying to negotiate fines and fees.

The bill starts adding up before the courtroom—when you are arrested. Even if you are innocent, in Alameda County, the investigation alone will cost you 250 bucks.

Read the complete story at KALW Crosscurrents.

To read about the entire series, visit Double Charged: Youth Radio Reporters on Their Series About the True Cost of Juvenile Justice


Online Site for S.F. Families Turns 10 and Gets New Look

By Leslie Nguyen-Okwu, Mission Local, San Francisco's primary online resource for parents, turned 10 this year, and to celebrate, it is getting a new look. The San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and Their Families released a revamped version of the site today.

With the changes, the agency aims to enhance engagement with a broader swath of San Francisco’s families.The site hopes to reach more underserved communities with its sleek design and new user-friendly features, such as an added map view for the event calendar listings and targeted sections for parents and teens, and for child care providers.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

Advocates Urge Repeal of ‘Maximum Family Grant’

 By Lisa Aliferis, KQED State of Health/The California Report

If you looked at that headline and thought, “What is the maximum family grant?” you are probably not alone. Twenty years ago this week, in the midst of the Clinton-era welfare reforms, California became one of 16 states to pass a limit on assistance to new children born into families that had been receiving benefits through CalWORKS, the state’s welfare program, in the 10 months before the child was born.

The idea was to prevent people receiving aid from having more children.

That law is still on the books and today, according to a brief from the Western Center on Law and Poverty, 13.4 percent of children in CalWORKs households — that is 143,300 children — are “currently impacted by the (maximum family grant) rule.”

Read the complete story at KQED State of Health/The California Report