Public Press wins an Excellence in Journalism award for ‘Public Schools, Private Money,’ in the winter 2014 edition

 

Government

S.F. mayor says police need $30 million more after years of stalled hiring

Christopher Peak, SF Public Press — Jul 12 2012 - 12:30pm

The San Francisco Police Department appeared to save money over the last three years by paying veteran officers extra to delay their retirement and freezing hiring of new recruits. But the bill for those changes is now coming due. Much of those savings have been wiped out since 2008, after a flood of officers took advantage of the Deferred Retirement Option Program to dip into their pensions early while still earning a salary.

City postpones vote to allow apartments with only 150 square feet of living space

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jul 10 2012 - 6:15pm

The idea of allowing smaller apartments in San Francisco — as little as 150 square feet of living space for an “efficiency” — is still under consideration after the Board of Supervisors Tuesday pushed back a decision on whether to amend the city’s building code. Supervisor Wiener and developers are pushing the approval of what they call “affordable by design” apartments, intended for newly constructed high-rises. Activists are calling these tiny apartments “shoeboxes.”

Developers seek to legalize tiny apartments in San Francisco, citing soaring rents

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jul 6 2012 - 3:23pm

Plan would shrink smallest living spaces by one-third, but opponents fear crowding

San Francisco of the near future could be a place where thousands of young high-tech workers pack into 12-by-12-foot boxes in high-rises, each equipped with a combination desk/kitchen table, a single bed and the overall feel of a compact cruise ship cabin. A developers’ group is pushing the idea that tiny apartments could be the answer to rising rental prices, and has convinced the Board of Supervisors to put the proposal up for a vote next Tuesday. The plan is to reduce the minimum living space in apartments from the current 220 square feet to just 150 — a little larger than a standard San Francisco parking space.

Despite political nature, Mirkarimi case in San Francisco brings spotlight to domestic violence

Christopher Peak, SF Public Press — Jul 3 2012 - 3:16pm

In a hearing room in City Hall last week, reporters scrambled to get play-by-play reaction from followers of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, sporting blue-and-white “Stand With Ross” stickers, and organized opponents, with purple signs saying, “There’s no excuse for domestic violence.” The complex game of personality, politics and procedure has for the most part eclipsed larger policy questions about the city’s approach to handling thousands of cases of domestic violence each year. But as the city’s Ethics Commission continues to debate whether Mirkarimi is fit to hold his elected position, advocates for victims say the hearings are helping generate awareness about the wider problem of domestic violence, and the needed response from social service agencies and law enforcement.

Marin cities rebel against regional planning

Kelly O'Mara, SF Public Press — Jul 2 2012 - 12:02pm

Corte Madera, population 9,300, kicked off a fierce debate in Marin over housing mandates earlier this year when the town council voted to become the first member to secede from the Association of Bay Area Governments. At the time, the nine-county planning agency (until then, made up of representatives of every Bay Area city) was launching a big regional housing-growth initiative called Plan Bay Area. Now, several local groups across the Bay Area are questioning the value of the regional plan, saying it will sacrifice local control.

Ever-changing population predictions frustrate Bay Area smart-growth planning

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jun 25 2012 - 12:38pm

State and regional planning agencies have produced differing predictions of how many people will migrate to the Bay Area in coming decades. The disagreement is frustrating efforts to forge a consensus on how many hundreds of thousands of new homes to build across the region, and where. In May, the California Department of Finance took a fresh look at economic forecasts and officially backed away from its prediction that 9.5 million people would live in the Bay Area in 2040. The state now says it is likely to be closer to 8.4 million. But the Association of Bay Area Governments pegged the population for the same 2040 target date at a robust 9.3 million. The agency is charged with developing Plan Bay Area, an ambitious agenda to reshape the sprawling region by building 660,000 new homes in the urban image of walkable, transit-friendly San Francisco.

Muni asks drivers to hold it in while new bathrooms get approvals

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jun 20 2012 - 5:19pm

Bus operators looking for a toilet after hours sitting in the driver’s seat will have to hold it just a little longer. That’s because Muni’s plans to build seven new free-standing bathrooms needs to be approved not just by the transit agency, but also Public Works and the Arts Commission. All told, it’s going to take six months.

Officials say planning for regional smart growth prevents ‘a world of hurt’

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jun 15 2012 - 10:21pm

The leaders of Bay Area planning agencies are struggling to persuade local governments and community groups that joint planning will make the region more socially, economically and environmentally healthy. Dealing with sprawl, the focus of the summer print edition of the Public Press, was front and center on Friday’s edition of “Forum,” the daily public-affairs talk show on KQED Radio.

S.F. to tackle shelter waiting game for disabled and older homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 6 2012 - 4:52pm

UPDATE: Listen to reporter T.J. Johnston's updated report on this story at KQED news here. The health of homeless people — especially older and disabled ones — is endangered by a time-consuming wait they endure daily when reserving a bed in San Francisco’s public shelter system, advocates and city officials say. As a result of a hearing before a Board of Supervisors panel, the city has begun a series of public meetings with providers, city officials and clients, to seek improvements in shelter access and the health of senior and disabled clients. Homeless policy director Bevan Dufty and others hope to work out a plan this summer and present it to the board.

Thousands of tickets handed out to homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jun 4 2012 - 3:16pm

Ignoring ‘quality of life’ fines can lead to warrants, jail

San Francisco is an expensive place to find an apartment, sure. But it can also be a costly place to live outside. Police served homeless people in the city with almost 40,000 citations over a five-year period, according to records compiled by the city agency that provides homeless services.

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