News From Our Partners

Growing Up Muslim in the Bay Area

By Peter Schurmann, New America Media

There are a quarter-million Muslims living in the Bay Area, and nearly half of them are under the age of 35. Many describe an intense personal and spiritual struggle as they look to reconcile their faith with the mainstream of American society.

These young Muslims are the face of American Islam in the 21st century, and yet their stories are rarely heard.

“I prayed five times a day, fasted on occasion and went on Hajj [pilgrimage],” said Omar Raza, who is 16 and a student at Averroes High School in Fremont, the Bay Area’s first Islamic high school. The son of Pakistani immigrants, Raza did these things “because my parents told me to. I never questioned them.”

It was in ninth grade, he says, that he first began looking for answers. “I went through this stage … I was trying to find my purpose.”  

Read the complete story at New America Media. 

A "Growing Up Muslim – San Jose" forum will be held Wednesday, April 9, 10 a.m. to 1.30 p.m., at the  Joyce Ellington Branch Library in San Jose. For more information, contact Semany  Gashaw, sgashaw@newamericamedia.org or RSVP at "Growing Up Muslim – San Jose."

Bay Area Bike Share May Expand to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville

By Bryan Goebel, KQED News Fix

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is considering the expansion of the Bay Area Bike Share program to Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville. The commission will vote on funding for the additional locations at its meeting next Wednesday. Commision staff have also recommended that additional locations be analyzed for further expansion.

The East Bay was not included in the bike share pilot that launched with 700 bikes last August in San Francisco and the Peninsula.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

S.F. 'HACKtivation' Matches Tech Talent With Nonprofit Groups

By Josh Wolf, Shareable

While the tech community continues to be demonized across San Francisco, nearly 100 mostly tech workers acted as angels last weekend by donating their expertise to a dozen nonprofit organizations that help the homeless.

In a format similar to a hackathon, where small teams form to develop software programs overnight, ReAllocate’s HACKtivation for the Homeless paired nonprofit organizations with volunteers to address technical challenges that would otherwise be out of reach for the cash-strapped organizations. “Not everybody is being included in how fast things are changing and the benefits of those changes,” said ReAllocate’s Executive Director Kyle Stewart, who cofounded the event with community organizer Ilana Lipsett. “There are opportunities for technology to help inside these established organizations.”

Read the complete story at Shareable. 

 

Ahead of S.F. Supervisors Hearing, One More Google Bus Dust-Up

By KQED News Staff and Wires, KQED News Fix

Google played a lot of April Fools’ Day jokes Tuesday, but this was not one of them.

Protesters decked out in colorful outfits, some walking on stilts, handed out fake “Gmuni” passes as they blocked a Google commuter bus in the city’s Mission District Tuesday morning.  The action was just the latest in a string of protests against the shuttle service, which to some has become the No. 1 symbol of gentrification in an increasingly unaffordable San Francisco.

The protest came ahead of a San Francisco Board of Supervisors hearing Tuesday afternoon on a pilot program to charge private shuttle buses for using public bus stops.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

A Fresh Food Oasis in San Francisco's Tenderloin

By Melanie Young, KALW

In San Francisco’s Tenderloin, getting healthy fare often is not an option. Without a full-service grocery store in the neighborhood, residents rely on corner stores, and the district has the city’s highest concentration of convenience stores.

Tenderloin resident Steve Tennis says what they sell is often, “Poison, it's just poison. Mothers with little kids in their arms in their strollers. What is the first thing these children see that are two, three years old? Candy, alcohol, dirty books. Nothing healthy. If this is your experience, week in and week out, it doesn’t take long for you to get hard wired to that food source.”

While much of their merchandise is not nutritious, the stores are part of the fabric of the neighborhood. So a team of residents and neighborhood leaders is helping storeowners learn how they can offer more healthy food options profitably.

Read the complete story at KALW. KALW produced this story in association with the "Old & Poor in Tech City" collaboration between New America Media and Central City Extra. 

Covered California Gives People More Time to Finish Their Applications

By Rachel Dornhelm, KQED, The California Report

Officials with California's health insurance exchange are adamant they are not extending the March 31 deadline to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. Still, they announced Wednesday that there will be some leeway for those who start an application by this Monday at midnight.

Read the complete story at The California Report

Three Weeks Left for Free Tax Preparation in Bay Area

By the Editorial TeamOakland Local 

Bay Area residents can have their taxes done for free through United Way’s Earn It! Keep It! Save It! program, available at more that 200 locations in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Solano counties. The service is available to households that earned less than $52,000 in 2013.

Now in its 12th year, Earn It! Keep It! Save It!’s trained tax volunteers ensure that low-income Bay Area residents get the tax refunds they deserve, including the Earned Income Tax Credit. The tax credit can total more than $6,000 per household, and for those struggling to make ends meet, having free tax preparation as well as assistance obtaining the tax credit can bridge the gap between poverty and being able to pay the bills. Last year, Earn It! Keep It! Save It! helped secure $74 million in refunds for 68,000 households – $24.8 million of which was the tax credit.



Read the complete story at Oakland Local.

Supervisors to Consider Legalizing San Francisco In-Law Units

By Bryan Goebel, KQED News Fix

San Francisco supervisors have begun considering a proposal that would allow landlords to voluntarily legalize in-law units, or secondary apartments, that make up a shadow housing market where some of the city’s most vulnerable tenants live, sometimes in substandard conditions.

The measure by Supervisor David Chiu is an effort to preserve one of the city’s largest stocks of affordable housing. City officials estimate there are up to 40,000 in-laws, often in the garages or basements of single-family homes, which make up about 10 percent of the housing supply.

A public hearing on the proposal Monday before the supervisors’ Land Use and Economic Committee was dominated by questions about how it would affect property owners, who would pay for potentially expensive upgrades to bring the units up to code, and complaints from residents in the city’s western neighborhoods who fear increased density.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix. 

The New Gold Rush: How Tourist Rentals Are Affecting San Francisco’s Housing Market

By Ben Trefny and Charlotte Silver, KALW Crosscurrents

The sharing economy in San Francisco is humming. Companies like Airbnb have figured out how to make a lot of money by using existing housing stock to meet consumer demand, which in Airbnb’s case is coming from tourists. Fast Company magazine declared AirBnB will soon become “the world’s largest hotel chain – without owning a single hotel.”

On the surface, it might look like a win-win. But where somebody’s getting paid, somebody is usually losing out. In the case of tourist rentals, people looking for permanent, long-term housing may be the losers.

Cities around the world have recently become more militant in enforcing laws governing this industry, so how has San Francisco responded?

"Great spot along the cable car line!"

Read the complete story at KALW Crosscurrents. 

All of These Monster Invasive Fish Came Out of One Small S.F. Lake

By Eric Simons, Bay Nature

Jonathan Young, a San Francisco State graduate student in biology and ecological restoration intern at the Presidio Trust, has the job of trying to restore some semblance of native life to Mountain Lake, in San Francisco’s Presidio. But as this sequence of photos shows, the native three-spined sticklebacks and Pacific chorus frogs he would like to restore would face some ferocious predators lurking in the watery depths. So it is Young’s job, for now, to try to get the predators out.

It is  a tough — perhaps impossible — task for a lone man with a fishing net. Mountain Lake covers about 4 acres and is around 10 to 12 feet deep, small in the grand scheme of things, but that does not seem to have harmed its ability to support, for example, a very very big carp.

Read the complete story at Bay Nature.