News From Our Partners

San Francisco Wants to Buy Out Landlords Before Luxury Developers Do

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

Cheap rental housing can feel like a vanishing resource in San Francisco. Property owners are selling buildings for multiples of what they originally bought them for, and who can blame them? But the consequence is almost all the units are getting fixed up and turned into luxury housing. It’s the way of the market, and it can seem inevitable. But what if it’s not?

In San Francisco, the city has begun trying to preserve its existing affordable housing by buying out landlords before flippers can get to them first. It’s called the Small Sites Acquisition and Rehab Program. And it just got a big boost in funding, thanks to Prop C, which passed last November.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

The Bay Area's Housing Voucher Problem

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

Eva Castillo [name was changed to protect her employment status] thinks of herself as a strong person. She was raised in the Sunnydale projects in San Francisco, sharing a bedroom with three brothers. Now she works in construction — often as the only woman on the job. But when she was evicted, she said she felt truly helpless for the first time in her life.

“I ain’t never been in this situation before,” she said. “I've been working ever since I've been 8 — and it feels like I’m working for nothing.”

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

California’s Water System Built for a Climate We No Longer Have

By Lauren Sommer, KQED Science/KQED News Fix

Many Californians are still in disbelief that after five years of too little water during the drought, now the problem is too much water.

Heavy winter storms have done more than cause problems at Oroville Dam, where thousands of people were evacuated after erosion of a critical spillway. They’ve also stressed thousands of miles of levees and flood infrastructure downstream of the major dams.

Read the complete story at KQED Science/KQED News Fix.

Officials Urge Undocumented Students to Apply for Dream Act Grants and Pledge Protection

By Larry Gordon, EdSource

Alarmed by the relatively low numbers of undocumented students applying for next year’s California Dream Act grants, California legislative and education leaders are urging students not to fear that filling out the college aid forms could trigger their deportation.

With a week left before the deadline, the number of applications for the state-funded Dream Act grants that help pay for college tuition is significantly lower so far than last year’s. Activists say students are reluctant to apply because they fear that personal information might be used to identify and deport undocumented young people and their relatives under the President Trump administration’s new immigration policies. However, state officials emphasize that such data are not shared with federal immigration authorities and that the state will fight to keep any of it from being handed over.

Read the complete story at EdSource. 

Are California's Jeopardized Middle Class Scholarships Worth Saving?

By Jessica Calefati, CALmatters

The $300 state grant Devon Graves got his senior year at Cal Poly Pomona was only enough for gas and groceries — it didn’t make his $20,000 in student loans any easier to manage. Still, it meant a lot to the teen from Murrieta, a commuter town on the edge of Riverside County.

“This award was a symbol of the state’s support for my education, and that symbolism meant more to me than the amount,” said Graves, who did not qualify for any other financial aid before becoming one of the first recipients of a taxpayer-funded Middle Class Scholarship in 2014.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

From the Doctor to the DMV: Trans People Rush to Change IDs Under Trump

By Marissa Ortega-Welch, KALW/Crosscurrents

Kris Gambardella is visiting the doctor  in order to get a new driver’s license. Kris is 26 and does social work in San Francisco. Like a lot of transgender people, he has yet to legally change his name and what’s called the “gender marker” on his legal documents.

“I am not a fan of paperwork and reading through all the legal jargon,” he says. So he’s been procrastinating.

Also like a lot of trans people, he’s now scrambling to get it done in case the process becomes harder — or even impossible — under President Trump.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

S.F. Police Shooting Raises Questions About City’s Response to Psychiatric Crises

By Alex Emslie, KQED News Fix

San Francisco police officers Kenneth Cha and Colin Patino didn’t know what they were walking into when they arrived at 515 Capitol Ave. before dawn on Jan. 6 and attempted to contact Sean Moore about a complaint from his neighbor.

The encounter with Moore escalated into the Police Department’s first officer-involved shooting of 2017 and the first ever in San Francisco to be captured on police body cameras. It was also the latest example of a tragic trend in San Francisco and across the nation: People in the midst of a psychiatric crisis make up a disproportionate number of those shot by police. 

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Here Are the California Congress Members Holding Town Halls

By Guy Marzorati, KQED News Fix/The California Report

With only a few days left until members of Congress return home for a weeklong recess in their districts, many California representatives are being pressured by groups opposing President  Trump to hold town hall meetings with their constituents.

But despite the mounting agitation, dozens of California Congress members have neither held nor scheduled any kind of town hall since their election in November.

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

Deportation Fears Depress California Dream Act College Aid Applications

By Larry Gordon, EdSource

Undocumented students in California are lagging far behind last year’s numbers in applying for state-funded financial aid for college, apparently because of fears that information on the forms could be used to possibly deport the young people and their families, officials say.

The election of Donald J. Trump as president has so rattled some immigrant families that they are skipping, or perhaps just delaying as long as possible, the chance for state-funded California Dream Act grants that pay a large chunk of costs to attend a community college, a California State University, a University of California or an independent college. That is happening even though California leaders have promised that personal data will be protected as much as possible from federal immigration authorities.

Read the complete story at EdSource.

Bullet Train's Halting Journey Into Downtown San Francisco

By Eli Wirtschafter, KALW/Crosscurrents

Rod Diridon Sr. says his favorite song is “Ol’ Man River.”

The song is “about persevering against great odds, when the deck was stacked against you,” says the former Santa Clara County supervisor. “And wanting to be like that old man river that just keeps rolling along.”

Diridon, who recently turned 78, hopes to live long enough to ride on a high-speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.