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

Decades after Sonoma ‘Running Fence,’ Christo still making art — and waves

Erin Van Rheenen, Special to SF Public Press — Nov 24 2010 - 11:23am

New documentary examines public battles over revolutionary installation.

Bureaucracy has once again issued a daunting challenge to the art of Christo, this time “Over the River,” his proposed temporary installation of shimmering fabric across the Arkansas River in Colorado. The battle, waged this summer, mirrors one that arose just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the early 1970s, when Christo and his French wife/collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, fought government and naysayers to create “Running Fence.”

Outspoken but outvoted: low turnout at the polls plagues activist hotbed of San Francisco

Theresa Seiger, SF Public Press — Nov 23 2010 - 11:49am

Demographics may play role in low numbers seen on election days

San Francisco voters overall do not have too much in common with defeated GOP candidate Meg Whitman. However, they share one trait: Politically active as they may be, much of the time they cannot be bothered to vote.

The daily street protests forming the backdrop of the city’s life for generations belie a lack of engagement at the ballot box. San Francisco has consistently one of the worst voter turnout records in the Bay Area and even the state.

While press coverage of Whitman’s repeated failure to show up to the polling place forced her to “apologize” to the voters during her first televised gubernatorial debate with Jerry Brown in late September, San Francisco officials are sounding decidedly less moralistic.

Muni planners say speed to come from untangling messy streetscape

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Nov 18 2010 - 11:55am

Transit planner calls the city's streets and tunnels 'a nightmare'

San Francisco transit planners say a recipe of small fixes could amount to big changes in the nation’s fifth-largest urban transit system. But without new sources of money, many of these ideas, some of which would change the way the city’s streets are configured, will remain on the drawing board.

The system is chronically slow and crowded in part because its diverse fleet of bus and rail lines operates on a rollercoaster terrain in a fully built-out urban grid. Street fairs and demonstrations, ball games and construction routinely clog major arteries, making schedules seem academic.

The Municipal Transportation Agency launched its Transit Effectiveness Project in 2006, to reconfigure the city’s streets and tunnels — where physical constraints notoriously slow basic public transit to what one Muni planner called “a nightmare.”

Finding the slow buses

Eric Fischer, SF Public Press — Nov 18 2010 - 11:53am

This map shows which San Francisco transit routes have the highest ridership and which adhere most closely to their schedules. Color indicates on-time performance; thickness of the lines indicates ridership.

The 1-California and 30-Stockton, traversing San Francisco’s northern flank, are high-ridership lines (green), with 80 percent or better schedule adherence.

The J-Church, K-Ingleside, T-Third, L-Taraval, and N-Judah Muni Metro lines, and the 14-Mission and 38-Geary bus lines, also have high reliability, with 70 percent or better schedule adherence (yellow).

Reporters’ Notebook: En route: 28-19th Avenue often off schedule

Monica Jensen, Jerold Chinn and Sarah Fidelibus, SF Public Press — Nov 18 2010 - 11:50am

Reporter Jerold Chinn, Multimedia Editor Monica Jensen and Social Media Editor Sarah Fidelibus rode one of the Muni bus lines that has the most trouble keeping on schedule — the 28-19th Avenue.

They documented the problems the bus faced while traveling on a recent Wednesday afternoon along the route from Fort Mason to Daly City. The bus travels for much of its route along 19th Avenue, or Highway 1, which leads to the Golden Gate Bridge to the north and Interstate 280 to the south.

Drivers take the heat for discontent of Muni riders

Sarah Fidelibus, SF Public Press — Nov 18 2010 - 11:48am

Operators face long hours, crowded streets and a sometimes hostile ridership

Proposition G, the initiative that voters overwhelmingly approved to change pay and work rules for Muni operators, focused attention on the system’s drivers, painting them as a reason that San Francisco’s Muni transit system is notoriously slow and unreliable.
And the drivers did little to help their cause on the public relations front — rejecting cuts that other city workers agreed to, boycotting the annual Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest and threatening to strike if the measure passed.
But on the job, drivers work in a high-stress environment, with long hours and, for many drivers, few breaks.

Small loans having big impact on local businesses

Li Miao Lovett, SF Public Press/National Radio Project — Nov 15 2010 - 1:28pm

Financial crisis leading to an increased demand on microlenders for start-up capital

In the community acupuncture room at Bu Tong Clinic, patients wait in silence away from the bustle of traffic and hawkers on Mission Street. The clinic owner, Julie Baumhofer, has seen her clientele grow as word about her low-fee acupuncture treatment continues to spread.

The clinic wouldn’t have happened without a microlender.

“If they didn’t do what they do, I wouldn’t be here now,” she says. “You don’t have to be born rich and know the right people, and you can be a business owner.”

Internet Access as the Next Civil Rights Battle?

Christi Morales, SF Public Press — Nov 10 2010 - 7:13pm

Advocates argue for ‘open Internet,’ some fear minority redlining

The ongoing, often arcane, battle over whether telecommunications companies may slow certain online services and charge fees to speed up others has morphed into a civil rights controversy.

Many of the country’s leading civil rights organizations are siding with the phone and cable companies in their bid to prevent federal regulations over their broadband, or high-speed, Internet services. At stake: whether to preserve “network neutrality” — the longstanding principle that all consumers can access whatever websites or applications they want on the Internet, at the same speed and without limitations imposed by Internet service providers.

Choose your own Pier 70

Matt Baume and Susie Cagle, SF Public Press — Nov 10 2010 - 4:36pm

You have 85 acres on the waterfront and two billion dollars ... what would you build?

A once-bustling industrial site that has fallen into decay on San Francisco’s waterfront, Pier 70 is facing a dramatic transformation. And in the next year, the Port of San Francisco will ask the public for feedback on as-yet unwritten development plans.

The Port has been keen to redevelop the site for years. Though the agency has been consulting neighbors at every step, most San Franciscans would be hard pressed to find it on a map. (It’s just north of Warm Water Cove, at the eastern end of 20th Street.)

Regents push risk

Peter Byrne, Spot Us — Nov 10 2010 - 2:00pm

Investigation shows some officials profited while UC investments performed poorly

Last fall, amid an unprecedented state budget crisis, the University of California Board of Regents took extraordinary measures to cut costs and generate revenue. Lecturers were furloughed, classes eliminated. The regents — the governing body for the vast public university system — also reduced admission slots for in-state students while increasing the cost for out-of-state students. And to the consternation of tens of thousands of students, the regents raised undergraduate tuition by a whopping 32 percent, with more hikes to come.

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