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

 

Government

S.F. controller’s audit finds meter maids need more ongoing training

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 18 2012 - 4:50pm

Audit also finds that transit agency should seek reimbursement for city events

A city audit released Tuesday said the Municipal Transportation Agency needs to do a better job training parking control officers. The audit, conducted by the city controller’s office, looked at whether parking control officers are adequately trained, how officers are deployed throughout the city and if staffing levels are sufficent.

Ranked-choice voting survives in San Francisco after supervisors’ decision

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jul 18 2012 - 3:35pm

Ranked-choice voting in San Francisco will continue in its original format and any attempts to change it will have to wait until after the November election. By agreeing to send three proposed alternatives back to the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee on Tuesday, the board assured that all three potential ballot questions posed by supervisors Christina Olague, Mark Farrell and David Chiu wouldn’t make their July 27 deadline for the November ballot.

Most Haight merchants say nothing changed on street after ‘sit-lie’ prohibition

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jul 16 2012 - 10:36am

A majority of retailers surveyed last November in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood said the enactment of San Francisco’s sit-lie law hasn’t worked as expected: Homeless people still hang out in front of their businesses.  An independent research report commissioned by the city found that 58 percent of the merchants in the district — the focus of a political battle that led to voter approval of the ban in 2010 — say the same number of people or more continue to park themselves on sidewalks. Sixty-one percent said they encountered sidewalk sitters at least three times per week.

Krugman: California represents the worst of current U.S. economic crisis

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — Jul 13 2012 - 11:37am

The budget pain facing California this year is not California’s fault, said Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist who has been among the most outspoken writers critiquing the government’s response to what he calls an economic “depression.” “Gov. Brown faces political constraints that, if anything, are even worse than those faced by President Obama, because of the craziness of California’s constitutional setup,” Krugman said at a recent appearance at the Commonwealth Club of California. He said Proposition 13, the state’s requirement of a legislative supermajority to pass tax increases, was the main culprit.

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

Christopher Peak, SF Public Press — Jul 12 2012 - 11:30am

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 - 5:15pm

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 - 2:23pm

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 - 2:16pm

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 - 11:02am

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 - 11:38am

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.

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