California

Education Reformers Say Students Need a Voice in State Funding for Equity

Paayal Zaveri, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 8 2014 - 3:25pm

With California public schools set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding in the coming school year, education reform groups say Bay Area school districts have not done enough to bring students — not just parents and other district residents — into the decision-making process.

Easy Solutions to S.F.’s Housing Crisis? Beware Unintended Consequences

Nathan Collins, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 12 2014 - 3:25pm

Hacking the Housing Crisis: Creative Ideas for Affordability

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and, very often, good urban planning policy ideas too. San Francisco and the Bay Area are no strangers to that road. Yet as talk of a housing crisis grows, the region may need a new attitude more than new ideas to avoid the mistakes of the past.

Housing Solution: Backyard Cottages Could Add One-Third More Homes to San Francisco

Cori Brosnahan, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 5 2014 - 4:00pm

Hacking the Housing Crisis: Creative Ideas for Affordability

San Francisco could boost its housing stock by as much as one-third — if only homeowners were allowed to build tiny, freestanding cottages in their backyards. This would satisfy the city’s policy of “infill development,” putting more housing on existing underutilized land. But first, the city would have to tweak existing building regulations tailored to mid-20th century lifestyles.

Groundwater Depletion Is Destabilizing the San Andreas Fault and Increasing Earthquake Risk

Katherine Bourzac, San Francisco Public Press — May 14 2014 - 10:01am

Research published today also links seasonal water levels to seasonal patterns in seismicity

Depletion of groundwater in the San Joaquin Valley is having wide-ranging effects not just on the agricultural industry and the environment, but also on the very earth beneath our feet. Massive changes in groundwater levels in the southern Central Valley are changing the stresses on the San Andreas Fault, according to research published today.

Audio Interview: Board Game Teaches California’s Cap-and-Trade Climate Program

Chorel Centers and Adriel Taquechel, San Francisco Public Press — Jan 27 2014 - 12:56pm

Public Press reporter Chorel Centers sat down with editor Michael Stoll and illustrator Anna Vignet to discuss the creation of a board game that allows teaches players how California’s year-old cap-and-trade greenhouse gas pollution control program works. It's part of a trend of “gamification” of the news, using interactive formats to engage audiences and teach complex policy issues. Players work as greenhouse gas tycoons in a race to make money before the caps on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases take full effect. The game is laid out like a Monopoly board.

The project was published in the summer 2013 print edition, and the prototype board game was printed on the back page of the first section of the newspaper. It accompnanied an extensive investigation on California’s cap and trade program, which aims to cut back to 1990 levels of greenhouse gases by 2020.

Big Businesses Use State Tax Fund to Train Their Own Staff

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — Dec 12 2013 - 1:11pm

Some subsidies, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, are awarded to multinational corporations valued in the billions

State subsidies for vocational training might provide a windfall to large corporations already able to offer similar instruction, if a planned expansion of a program funded through a tax on all businesses in California moves forward. State officials say they aim the vocational training funding at big businesses in key industries that are in danger of relocating to other states. But while tens of thousands of smaller companies pay into the program via the Employment Training Tax, it is hard for most to qualify for grants. Many do not even know the program exists.

SAN FRANCISCO’S WORKFORCE REBOOT is the cover story in the fall 2013 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. Check back for updates on other stories.

Plans to Relax California Climate Regulations Upset Some Environmentalists

Barbara Grady and Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 31 2013 - 12:38pm

California regulators are weighing plans to make it easier and less expensive for oil refineries and other big industries to comply with the state’s new cap-and-trade system for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and environmentalists are alarmed. At a hearing last week in Sacramento, the California Air Resources Board heard staff proposals to amend the year-old cap-and-trade program to extend “transition assistance” to industry through 2018. The change, coming on the heels of lobbying from industry, would give businesses possibly hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free allowances to pollute, and alter the economics of the emerging auction market for carbon.

Many Residents in the Dark About California Carbon Cap-and-Trade, Survey Finds

Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 6 2013 - 1:45pm

A majority of California residents have never heard about the state’s landmark cap-and-trade program to limit greenhouse gas emissions from industry, a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California shows. While 54 percent of state residents sampled had heard nothing about the new multibillion-dollar carbon market, 33 percent had heard a little and 12 percent a lot, the survey, which was released July 31, found.

Make Money, Save the Planet Board Game

Anna Vignet, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 17 2013 - 11:08am

Update 8/2/13: Listen to Public Press editor Michael Stoll and illustrator Anna Vignet interviewed on KALW-FM about how to design a board game to teach people how California’s cap-and-trade program works.

Is it possible to maximize your individual profits while reducing overall pollution? That’s the billion-dollar game California has now started. The goal for California industries is to work collectively to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They do this by trading “allowances” to emit carbon — and hopefully making a profit along the way. This game board is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Big-Time Preservation, Thanks to Carbon Credits

Dan Rademacher, Bay Nature — Jul 10 2013 - 11:22am

A 19,000-acre area in Sonoma County is spared from vineyard and housing development

Carbon credits were essential to funding the big costs that come along with managing such large tracts. The nonprofit’s best estimate is that the credits will yield “several hundred thousand dollars” in annual income, based on similar deals on other parcels. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

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