European, U.S. Climate Policies Trail California’s

Chorel Centers and Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 6 2013 - 5:31pm

As California pushes forward on a wide range of aggressive goals to curb its contribution to climate change, the same solution that’s the centerpiece of the state’s effort — a cap-and-trade market for carbon emissions — is moving forward in a big way on the international stage. The European Union voted Wednesday to strengthen the role of the continental cap-and-trade system. But, as the New York Times reported, the union is far from unified on the issue. Many fear cap-and-trade would burden the European economy — in part because the U.S. has failed to pass its own federal cap-and-trade scheme.

Carbon Storage Could Aid Climate, but at What Cost?

Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 3 2013 - 11:30am

While building a power plant in Southern California that buries carbon dioxide underground can help the industry meet California's greenhouse gas and gas reduction goals, local concerns regarding health effects and air pollutants challenge the project's environmental claims.

This story is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Mapping California’s Biggest Polluters

Darin Jensen, Mike Jones and Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 2 2013 - 3:59pm

Carbon dioxide, as everyone knows, is invisible. But with a little mapmaking magic, the greenhouse gas comes into sharp view in a rainbow of colors, and shows clearly how and where California contributes to global warming. California’s cap-and-trade program requires the largest emitters of greenhouse gases to pay to pollute. Each metric ton of carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gas equivalent) requires an “allowance,” with the total supply (the “cap”) falling each year. These maps show the largest emitters. This is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

California Eliminating ‘Wasteful’ Enterprise Zones

Miguel Sola Torá and Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 1 2013 - 4:17pm

Enterprise zones — which were created to offer tax breaks for companies creating jobs in economically depressed areas of the state — are on the way out in California, to  be replaced by a range of more targeted incentives. The current program came under scrutiny for soaring costs and the proliferation of businesses that legislators said did not need the generous tax credits they were collecting.

Gay Rights, San Francisco and the Media

Kevin Forestieri, Chorel Centers and Yoona Ha, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 26 2013 - 5:21pm

The coverage following the two Supreme Court rulings for same-sex marriage reflects the jubilant celebration of gay rights advocates, eclipsing dissenting opinions on the Supreme Court decision.

Years of Lobbying Helped Transportation Fuels Industry Win Exemptions From California’s Climate Rules

Ambika Kandasamy and Barbara Grady, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 25 2013 - 11:20am

For four years oil companies, airlines and ground transportation industry groups have petitioned California for exemptions from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, saying consumers would take the hit through higher prices at the pump and in stores. And in court they are still arguing that the state lacks the regulatory authority to compel participation. To a degree, they have succeeded. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Obama’s Climate Change Strategy Will Limit Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Miguel Sola Torá, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 20 2013 - 2:00pm

President Barack Obama will soon announce a plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, making tackling climate change a second term priority,  according to The New York Times.

California’s Hunger for Low-Carbon Power Could Hurt Other States

Lisa Weinzimer and Ambika Kandasamy, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 19 2013 - 3:11pm

California’s effort to ensure that the state receives low carbon electricity could end up increasing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the country, thanks to a practice known as contract reshuffling.Importing low-carbon electricity from out-of-state suppliers of renewable sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower is one way California’s electric utilities can decrease their carbon emissions.

This story is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Governor’s Raid on Greenhouse Gas Pollution Fund Sets Back Environmental Groups

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 17 2013 - 3:37pm

Environmental and community groups are looking for ways to replace the $500 million for energy conservation, transportation and other green programs that Gov. Jerry Brown persuaded the Legislature in mid-June to borrow to balance the state budget. 

New Owner Ousts Longtime San Francisco Bay Guardian Editor

T.J. Johnston and Miguel Sola Torá, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 14 2013 - 5:19pm

Tim Redmond, the longtime executive editor of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, left the paper late Thursday night after the owner forced him out, he said. Redmond said his dismissal stemmed from a dispute over personnel and editorial direction. Stephen Buel, editor of the Guardian’s sister paper, the San Francisco Examiner, called it a resignation. Buel said the Guardian has been losing money and Redmond resigned to prevent the firing of other staff.

Despite Lowered Expectations, Officials Still Say America’s Cup Will Bring Jobs to S.F.

Miguel Sola Torá, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 10 2013 - 4:01pm

The America’s Cup may not turn out to be the benefit to San Francisco that city leaders and private boosters once promised. But the city’s economic development officials still say taxpayers can break even by hosting a scaled-back version of the boat race this summer. Buried deep in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed city budget released on May 31 was $22 million directed toward planning, permitting, emergency, security and transit measures for the America’s Cup.

Domestic Violence Case that Spurred San Francisco Reforms Comes to a Close

Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jun 5 2013 - 5:59pm

The high-profile murder of Claire Joyce Tempongko more than 12 years ago showed just how ineffective the city was at dealing with domestic violence cases, spurring an investigation of the city's enforcement of domestic violence policy. Now the state Supreme Court has reinstated the second-degree murder conviction of her ex-boyfriend.

State Homeless ‘Bill of Rights’ Put on Hold Until Next Year

T.J. Johnston, San Francisco Public Press — May 30 2013 - 3:41pm

A “homeless bill of rights” in California must wait until next year for a vote in the full Assembly after clearing its first hurdle.  Advocates say the legislation would protect homeless people from local enforcement of so-called “quality of life” laws, and specify homeless people as deserving of protection in the state’s antidiscrimination statutes.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor’s Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:47pm

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week. The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

California Environmentalists Decry Governor's Raid on Cap-and-Trade Dollars

Chantal Jolagh, San Francisco Public Press — May 17 2013 - 3:41pm

 

Gov. Jerry Brown’s effort to divert $500 million earmarked for environmental initiatives into the general fund would hurt California communities with high pollution levels and slow down efforts to spur efficiency, mass transit and alternative energy, critics told legislators this week.

The state’s environmental officials have been developing programs to fund a range of programs in communities disadvantaged by environmental burdens. The money comes from auctions of greenhouse gas permits from the state’s new cap-and-trade pollution control marketplace.

State Should Follow S.F.'s Lead and Raise Minimum Wage, Says Lawmaker

Alex Kekauoha, San Francisco Public Press — May 15 2013 - 5:27pm

San Francisco’s record of raising the minimum wage 10 years ago without crashing the local economy proves that California can do the same, said a leading labor policy reformer in the Legislature. Watsonville Assemblyman Luis Alejo’s plan to raise the state minimum to $9.25 an hour by 2016 draws heavily on the experience of San Francisco.

S.F.’s Minimum Wage, Highest in the Nation, Eludes Thousands as Enforcement Efforts Face Obstacles

Aaron Tilley and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — May 1 2013 - 11:07am

10-year-old reform unfinished as businesses routinely flout $10.55 mandate, labor activists say

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

While San Francisco’s minimum wage is the highest in the nation, thousands of workers still earn below the current mandate of $10.55 an hour, say economists, anti-poverty activists and public officials. It has been 10 years since voters passed the groundbreaking labor reform, and the city has built a first-of-its-kind inspection team that has recovered back wages for more than 3,000 workers. But these efforts appear to have addressed only a fraction of the problem. ALSO: Listen to discussion of S.F.'s minimum wage enforcement on KALW Radio’s “Your Call” Friday Media Roundtable.

Domestic Violence Record-Keeping Still Flawed, but Police Say Fix Is Near

Tay Wiles, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 29 2013 - 11:04am

Some cases were not referred immediately to Special Victims Unit

This story appeared in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Nine months after the San Francisco Police Department fully implemented a new digitized case management system, inspectors were still finding as many as 20 domestic violence cases per month that were not immediately referred to the Special Victims Unit for investigation, said a lieutenant in charge of the domestic violence team.

Indigenous People Face Obstacles Seeking Legal Pay

Jonah Harris, New America Media — Apr 24 2013 - 12:46pm

Mayas from Yucatán find work in food service, but face language, immigration barriers

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Few are more susceptible to the crime of wage theft than indigenous newcomers from Latin America, say labor experts, advocates for minority ethnic communities and immigrant workers themselves. Indigenous people from Mexico and Central America, who make up as much as 30 percent of the population of immigrants from there, are less likely to be literate, to speak either Spanish or English proficiently or to have legal documentation.

Restaurant Worker Paid Below Minimum Wage for ‘Training’

Tearsa Joy Hammock, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 22 2013 - 1:00pm

Food-service sector among worst violators of wage laws

This story is part of a special report in the Spring print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Last year, Mauricio Lozano found a job through a friend at a pizzeria in North Beach. The pay was $8 an hour, in cash. He said a supervisor told him he would get less than San Francisco’s minimum wage because he was “in training.” Under city law, that’s no excuse for paying below the mandated wage floor, then $10.24 an hour. But the restaurant needed someone right away, and Lozano was in no position to negotiate.