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

 

Civic Center

‘Laura’s Law’ No Quick Fix for Strained San Francisco Mental Health System

Robin Ngai, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 11 2014 - 9:33am

The challenge of preserving civil rights while providing mental health care dominated debate about “Laura’s Law,” a controversial measure adopted this week that gives family members and law enforcement a legal means to compel treatment. Proponents say the law will help families frustrated by their loved ones’ refusal to seek treatment, but service providers and activists say it is not a panacea for San Francisco's overstretched mental health system.

Twitter, Other Tech Companies Get S.F. Tax Breaks but Show Little Progress Hiring in Neighborhood

Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 11 2013 - 12:51pm

The largest of the firms settling in mid-Market signed extensive community agreements, but critics call them toothless

Last year, 14 San Francisco technology companies received $1.9 million in tax breaks for setting up shop in the mid-Market Street area. Supporters said it was a good investment, bringing economic development and jobs to an economically depressed strip in the core of the city. The zone is certainly coming back to life, and the companies that benefited now employ more than 2,700 workers. But it is less clear that the deal resulted in entry-level jobs for residents of the hardscrabble neighborhood — one of the goals most sought by skeptics of the tax break. The largest six of the companies promised a list of community benefits that included an effort to identify qualified job seekers in the Tenderloin and mid-Market area. But the agreements are vaguely worded, the companies have been slow to report their progress to the city, and most were unresponsive to direct questions about employment practices.

This story is part of a special report on workforce development in the San Francisco Public Press fall print edition.

S.F. Board Watch: City to Consider Expanding ‘Green Zone’ for Marijuana Dispensaries

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Nov 7 2013 - 5:54pm

The Board of Supervisors this week approved a limit to the number of marijuana dispensaries allowed to open on the southern end of Mission Street in the Excelsior commercial district. Medical cannabis dispensaries would need a special permit to open within 500 feet of an existing dispensary. Supervisor John Avalos said he may later propose expanding that distance to 1,000 feet. Plus: Marsh Theater’s Unwanted Neighbors | City Parks Closure | New Policy on Video Productions

Little old ladies set up shop selling 'free' food on streets of S.F.

Jonathan Newman, Central City Extra — May 17 2012 - 12:18pm

With the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market gearing up across the street at 8:30 a.m. on a recent Wednesday, six elderly Asian women line up their wares across the front of the Grant Building and entreat pedestrians, calling softly: “Buy. You buy.” Canned Bartlett pears, bagged carrots and onions, boxes of Land O’ Lakes American cheese, packages of whole-wheat bagels, jars of Algood peanut butter, dried beans, sesame crackers and squat cans of evaporated milk were neatly displayed at their feet, along with grape juice and orange juice in plastic liters — clearly food obtained from community agencies’ free distribution programs.

Express bus eyed for Caltrain to mid-Market run

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — May 14 2012 - 1:23pm

Muni officials want to start an express bus route to speed workers from the downtown San Francisco Caltrain to a revitalized mid-Market jobs hub. The rush-hour service would cater to what the city anticipates will be a growing technology business cluster near the new headquarters of social media giant Twitter.

Empty S.F. hotels occupied in World Homeless Day protest

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Oct 11 2011 - 4:59pm

As the Occupy Wall Street movement gains momentum nationwide, a band of housing activists occupied 10 vacant buildings in San Francisco on Monday. Following a late afternoon rally at the Civic Center, at least 30 members of Homes Not Jails entered the Cathedral Hill Hotel at 1101 Van Ness Ave. by cutting the gate open. Then they started occupying some of the 600 vacant units.

 

Global warming urban landscapes too real for U.S. officials

Eric Klein and Justin Beck, ”Radio Chronicles” on KPFA — Jul 11 2011 - 5:56pm

RADIO DOCUMENTARY / SLIDESHOW: Artist Anthony Holdsworth, who painted a series of urban landscapes that depicted a future San Francisco flooded by rising seas, was invited to show his work last year inside the new “green” San Francisco Federal Building at Seventh and Mission streets. But before the opening reception, the show was ordered taken down. He said the image in one of his paintings, of oil burning on a flooded sidewalk in front of the building was too similar to the news footage of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for federal authorities to bear. Undeterred, Holdsworth is mounting a new art show at the cafe at SFMOMA.

City gave up $3.5 million in community benefits before passing Twitter tax deal

Nina Frazier, SF Public Press — Jun 7 2011 - 11:17am

The April tax break for social media giant Twitter was supposed to include sweeteners to help community organizations, small businesses and the arts in the blighted mid-Market neighborhood. But just before the Board of Supervisors approved a tax exemption, which is projected to save Twitter $70 million, it abandoned a draft community benefits agreement worth at least $3.5 million, plus 1 percent of the company’s pre-tax income and myriad other community service projects. These included improvements to public parks, the opening of a neighborhood grocery store, a local hiring provision and free Wi-Fi for neighbors, the Public Press has learned. The board now has a chance to retroactively approve a committee to come up with such an agreement, but neighborhood activists say the city is in a worse bargaining position now that Twitter has its tax break.

 

In new film, Tenderloin finds uplift in participatory public artwork

Erica Reder, SF Public Press — May 19 2011 - 5:41pm
Last Friday’s screening of “A Brush With the Tenderloin,” a film by Paige Bierma, revisits the making of an important new neighborhood landmark — a mural that captures the residents who frequent one downtrodden corner. The artist, Mona Caron, worked on the painting for a year. The project became a focal point for the community and a vision for how it might improve its own self-image. 
 

 

Burning Man organizers eye move to redeveloped mid-Market Street arts district

Hank Drew, SF Public Press — Jan 28 2011 - 8:03am
In much the same way as they annually transform a desolate stretch of the Nevada desert into a week-long countercultural art festival, the organizers of Burning Man are now hoping to transform a desolate stretch of San Francisco’s Market Street.
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