Fall 2010 print edition.

The second print edition of the Public Press is here. It’s 24 pages in three sections, including an extensive report on Muni’s elusive quest for on-time service, a series of reports on the side effects of medical marijuana and updates on how sea level rise will affect the Bay. Also reports on stumbling blocks on the road to mid-Market revitalization, the city's failed effort to raise funds for earthquake retrofitting and a creative choose-your-own-adventure full-page graphical feature on the future of Pier 70 redevelopment.

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Top stories


SF finds revenue under every rock

 

The cost of living and doing business in San Francisco increased this year in hundreds of little ways. Though they didn’t garner as much attention as the city’s massive budget cuts, a series of new and increased fees emerged from the Board of Supervisors from late May to early July. The goal was to generate revenue beyond taxes, reducing city departments’ reliance on an anemic general fund. The following list was compiled from records from the board. It includes all new and increased fees introduced with the 2010-11 fiscal year. The supervisors enacted more than 400 feehikes, some for rare activities with small constituencies, such as hosting a masked ball or shooting off a cannon. (Seriously.) — Conor Gallagher

Fall 2010

Fund to boost Mid-Market Street cultural district has money but few takers

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Dec 22 2010 - 10:54am

Small arts groups can’t come up with capital to lease property

An $11 million city fund to create a mid-Market Street cultural district so far has yielded one government loan—to a restaurant—while dozens of small performing arts groups cannot take advantage of the program because of their limited financial resources. Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the Central Market Cultural District Loan Fund in January as a way to support and concentrate arts groups to bring life back to the city’s long-depressed central corridor. Mid-Market stretches from Fifth to 10th streets on Market Street and from Mason to Larkin streets and up to O’Farrell Street in the Tenderloin, according to the city loan guidelines.

New ‘Distress Index’ shows San Francisco’s economic pain is getting worse

Nina Martin, New America Media — Dec 20 2010 - 11:00am

New tool finds that recession started earlier in Bay Area

Some economists and business groups say the Great Recession is over, but how do communities really know whether they're moving out of the recession or falling behind?

A ground-breaking new tool that measures the real-world impact of the recession is providing answers. It shows that in San Francisco, at least, the worst downturn in 70 years isn’t just continuing — it may be getting worse.

The new San Francisco Distress Index, which assembles 11 types of monthly economic indicators such as foreclosure rates and food pantry visits, has risen 11 percent since June 2009 — the month when, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the U.S. recession supposedly bottomed out.

City struggles to move beyond piecemeal approach to earthquake retrofitting

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Dec 17 2010 - 3:19pm

Thousands of structures in city in need of seismic work

San Francisco’s piecemeal approach to seismic retrofitting took a big hit when voters rejected a $46 million bond to retrofit affordable housing and residential hotels. This was the third time in as many years that the city sought the ability to borrow money to fix structures that were most vulnerable to a major earthquake. Advocates say this measure’s passage could saved the lives of some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. But seismic safety experts argue it was only a fraction of what is needed to prevent widespread building collapses when the next big quake strikes. While this year’s bond measure, Proposition A, could have saved as many as 156 buildings, the city has identified at least another 2,700 similar structures that are not covered by any retrofit program.

Gulf residents doubt government committed to working with communities to fix spill damage

Kevin Stark, SF Public Press — Dec 9 2010 - 12:01pm

Some fear money won't go to restoring ravaged coastline

As the federal government promotes initiatives to ensure long-term recovery for the oil-spill-beleaguered Gulf Coast region, officials are attempting to court marginalized community groups whose members say their suggestions have been disregarded or they have been left out of discussions entirely. But the reaction has been skeptical, with residents saying they have been deceived by low-ball official assessments of environmental and health threats. Residents say they are increasingly anxious about the economic and environmental viability of life along the shoreline. As many as one-quarter of the region’s residents say they are thinking of moving away.

Judge and media navigate claims of gay bias

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Dec 4 2010 - 11:17am

Same-sex marriage appeal puts spotlight on personal lives of those judging — and reporting on — the issue

Same-sex marriage opponents complained that U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker — who this summer overturned Proposition 8, a 2008 state constitutional amendment banning the practice — should have recused himself because he is gay (a suggestion Walker has declined to discuss). Walker’s sexual orientation will be front and center in arguments before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. This puts journalists, too, in a funny position. Who will believe a gay reporter covering the question about whether a gay judge should be disqualified?

Iraq veteran’s new battle: defeating ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Dec 2 2010 - 3:35pm

Back in war zone as contractor, decorated sergeant yearns for return to military life

Anthony Loverde joined the military at 22 because he needed money for school, and because he felt a deep love for country. But the real reason, he said, was to gain discipline — to “fight being gay.” Starting as an Air Force radio technician, he climbed quickly to the rank of staff sergeant, and then served as a cargo loader flying missions in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. His close crew of six did everything together — ate, slept, fought a war. While the team built camaraderie, Loverde had to lie about his personal life constantly. One summer day in 2008, a battle buddy asked what was wrong. Loverde had to let his secret out: he was gay. Military procedure required his friend to tell their commander. After seven years of service, Loverde was discharged under the military’s long-standing “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

SF finds revenue under every rock

Conor Gallagher, SF Public Press — Dec 1 2010 - 5:05pm

From the mundane to the taboo to the absurd, city leaders hike any fee they can think of to balance city budget

The cost of living and doing business in San Francisco increased this year in hundreds of little ways. Though they didn’t garner as much attention as the city’s massive budget cuts, a series of new and increased fees emerged from the Board of Supervisors from late May to early July. The goal was to generate revenue beyond taxes, reducing city departments’ reliance on an anemic general fund. The following list was compiled from records from the board. It includes all new and increased fees introduced with the 2010-11 fiscal year. The supervisors enacted more than 400 fee hikes, some for rare activities with small constituencies, such as hosting a masked ball or shooting off a cannon. (Seriously.)

Geographies of San Francisco re-imagined

Mineko Brand, SF Public Press — Nov 30 2010 - 2:19pm

Innovative atlas juxtaposes dissimilar items into fanciful maps

On the night that San Francisco Giants fans took to the streets delirious over a World Series championship, a tamer crew of folk including cartographers and poets gathered to mark the release of “Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas.” The collection of fanciful maps of the city combines disparate but creatively juxtaposed items such as World War II shipyards and African-American political and musical landmarks, as drawn together in “Shipyards and Sounds: the Black Bay Area Since World War II.” Other maps are called “Death and Beauty: All of 2008’s Ninety-Nine Murders, Some of 2009’s Monterey Cypresses”; and “Graveyard Shift: The Lost Industrial City of 1960 and the Remnant 6 A.M. Bars.”

New Rules on Phone Competition Could Affect Prices for Poor

Conor Gallagher, SF Public Press — Nov 29 2010 - 4:47pm

Basic service would no longer include unlimited local calls

A proposal by state utilities regulators to deregulate basic phone service could open competition to companies using newer technologies, but critics say it could sharply increase costs for more than 2 million low-income Californians who rely on discounted landline service.

All landline rates could rise under the proposed rules, which would increase the companies’ leeway in new charges for services, whose prices are now fixed. Phone rates have been under California Public Utilities Commission oversight since the dawn of phone service in 1915.

The commission, which regulates the state’s telecommunication, energy, water and transportation industries, has proposed ending a requirement that basic phone service include free incoming calls and unlimited local calling for a flat rate.

Treasure Island building plans draw fire

Victoria Schlesinger, Way Out West — Nov 29 2010 - 4:09pm

Foes say development would choke bridge traffic and worsen air

Proposed redevelopment on Treasure Island would increase traffic jams on the Bay Bridge, lengthening commute times and exacerbating Bay Area air pollution, critics say. Residents, environmental organizations and local agencies voiced those concerns this fall in almost 700 written comments on proposed new residential and commercial development that planners have said would make the island a world-class green neighborhood. Comments about the project’s draft environmental impact report submitted by the September deadline expressed deep misgivings with the plan by the city and the developer to limit driving on and off the island.
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