News From Our Partners

Youth Homelessness Rises in the Affluent Bay Area

EdSource

The Bay Area, one of the most affluent regions in the country, is also home to nearly 15,000 homeless children.

Most live in urban areas, but they also live in the wealthy enclaves:  Menlo Park,  San Ramon Valley, Ross in Marin County, where the median household income can exceed $200,000. And these children are undercounted: Parents report to schools whether their family is homeless, and they have plenty of reasons not to admit to it — fear of deportation, fear of the government taking their children away, and shame.

Read the story at EdSource

Cities Get Ready to Deal With New Housing Rules — on Their Own Terms

CALmatters

Gov. Jerry Brown has done his part: He's signed into law bills that focus on California’s housing crisis. Now cities and counties are stepping up to the task to start implementing the state’s new housing agenda.

“The idea is that we have to comply with these laws of the state of California now,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín, whose city has seen, for years,  fights between pro- and slow-development forces. “And so how can we comply … but also preserve some degree of local control?”

Read the story at CALmatters. 

Public Press Weekly: Mapping Mother Earth

The Bay Area has its environmental challenges — drought, temblors here and there, and occasional triple-digit temperatures. But climate change has introduced a new threat: sea level rise, with tides predicted to be as much as 10 feet higher before the end of the century (Public Press). We’re doing more than wishing for a different outcome. Recruited to participate in the Resilient by Design project, 10 teams will map strategies for how the Bay Area can best react to future coastal inundations (KQED Science). In a salvo against a soggy future, San Francisco and Oakland have separately sued five major oil companies over the firms’ role in global warming, and the cities want billions to pay for projects protecting Bay Area people and property against rising seas (BuzzFeed News).

Mapping bad stuff isn’t limited to floods. If you’re worried about whether your home will fall through a fissure in the next earthquake, you can take a look at the U.S. Geological Survey’s liquefaction susceptibility map of San Francisco (SF Gate). It pinpoints the kinds of soils that affect how much a building shakes in a quake, like, bedrock (low risk) to landfill (high risk). This bit of information, depending on where you’re living, would be a good thing to know before the next Big One.

Also in the news is the improved mapping tool of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool (Earth Island Journal). It now allows the public to overlay the locations of the country’s 6,000-plus prisons, jails and detention centers with information about environmental hazards such as superfund and hazardous waste sites.

The Bay Area: the Good, the Bad and the Pricey

The economy here is fine shape, so says a recent study: “Bay Area Economy Growing Three Times Faster Than National Average” (San Francisco Business Times). But that’s cold comfort to those thinking about fleeing because of the stratospheric housing costs: “Amid Housing Pain, Most Californians Have Weighed a Move” (New York Times). Housing woes have punched up the state’s poverty rate to the highest in the country: “How Sky-High Housing Costs Make California the Poorest State” (CALmatters).

Traffic is also a factor in the misery calculus, having increased in the Bay Area 80 percent since 2010: “Traffic on Major Bay Area Freeways Has Grown 80 Percent Since 2010” (The Mercury News).

There are a few bright spots, though.

Parents whose child-care costs are a major budget buster soon may be getting a break, at least in San Francisco: “Parents Say High Cost Is a Major Barrier to Obtaining Child Care” (EdSource). The Board of Supervisors weighed in by backing a ballot measure to guarantee access to affordable child care: “Supervisors Propose Universal Child Care Ballot Measure” (Hoodline).

Those who help feed people in need might learn from the Trinity County Food Bank, which successfully operates in one of the state’s most food insecure places: “In Isolated Trinity County, This Man Is a Food Lifeline” (KQED News).

Rare Gem in Pricey San Francisco: New Low-Income Housing

KQED News Fix

San Francisco held a grand opening last week for Five 88 Apartments, the city’s latest affordable housing project, in Mission Bay. 

“It’s a very beautiful neighborhood. The view is nice,” said Carlos Poot, 36, as he pushed his 1-year-old daughter in a stroller, his two other children skipping ahead with his wife.

Read the story at KQED News Fix.

Bail? Jail? Tool Tried Out by San Francisco Courts Looks Promising

KQED News Fix/The California Report

In 2016, San Francisco began to use an algorithm to evaluate if a person accused of a crime and awaiting trial could be safely released from jail.

Now, prosecutors say the risk assessment tool seems to work: According to information provided to KQED by the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office, 6 percent of defendants let out of jail based on the “public safety assessment,” or PSA, committed a new crime; 20 percent did not show up for court.

Read the story at KQED News Fix/The California Report.

In Deciding If Police Officers Can Use Tasers, S.F. Commission Asks the Experts

Mission Local

The San Francisco Police Commission heard from two national experts on police training about whether to equip city police officers with Tasers. Both experts agreed that these electroshock weapons belonged on an officer's tool belt and, most important, training was crucial to using Tasers effectively.

Sue Rahr, the director of the Washington state criminal justice training commission, and a leading expert in retraining and changing police culture, stressed the value of “emotional intelligence,” which she sees as a tool to avoid the use of force.

Read the story at Mission Local. 

Many California Meadows Will Vanish, Here’s Why It Matters

By Matt Weiser, KQED News Fix/Water Deeply

Mountain meadows are starting to get some respect. For over a century, meadows were the first alpine environments targeted for development, grazing and farming, because they tend to be flat and packed with rich soil and nutritious plants. But we’re starting to understand that meadows have a much more important role to play for society at large.

Meadows, it turns out, are water banks. As winter snows melt, the runoff flows into meadows, where deep organic soil holds the moisture like a sponge and then releases it slowly. This helps minimize downstream flooding during spring. Meadows release that runoff over a longer period, helping stretch valuable water supplies through the long, dry summer months.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix/Water Deeply.

Beyond DACA: How Advocates Are Fighting Back and What You Need to Know

By Alexis Terrazas, El Tecolote

The end of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) announced earlier this month has sent shockwaves of fear and confusion through the undocumented and immigrant rights communities, but it’s also prompted massive counter campaigns both to legally challenge the administration and to properly inform people of their rights.

Currently, multiple immigrant advocacy groups are gearing up for legal battle over DACA’s termination.

Read the complete story at El Tecolote.

More Local Governments Suing Big Oil Over Climate Change Costs: Oakland, S.F. Join the Fray

By Dana Cronin, KQED News Fix

San Francisco and Oakland announced Wednesday that they are suing five big oil companies for costs associated with climate change mitigation.

Each city filed its own suit against Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, BP and Royal Dutch Shell, asking the court to hold the companies responsible for the cost of sea walls and other infrastructure cities will need to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

How Extreme Heat Caught San Francisco by Surprise Over Labor Day Weekend

By Eric Simons, Bay Nature

They saw the heat coming for Northern California several weeks before it arrived. By mid-August forecasters and weather followers predicted that a hot blanket would smother the Western United States the first week in September. Every long and then medium-range forecast model painted the West Coast red. A week before Labor Day weekend, the National Weather Service (NWS) forecast office in Monterey — which rarely deploys adjectives — warned of “oppressive heat” over the upcoming weekend.

But the Weather Service, and everyone else, placed the epicenter of the heat inland. Forecasts focused on the potential for breaking all-time temperature records in the interior. There was talk of Livermore reaching 116 degrees, an all-time high only a degree short of the all-time record high in Las Vegas. There were also jokes on social media as people around the country saw the NWS-issued “excessive heat watch” for what weather app forecasts suggested would be temperatures in the high 70s in San Francisco. Even in the early morning on the Friday the heat wave began, the official NWS forecast discussion called for “upper 80s to mid 90s near the coast.”

Read the complete story at Bay Nature.