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

Plans to Relax California Climate Regulations Upset Some Environmentalists

Barbara Grady and Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 31 2013 - 11:38am

California regulators are weighing plans to make it easier and less expensive for oil refineries and other big industries to comply with the state’s new cap-and-trade system for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and environmentalists are alarmed. At a hearing last week in Sacramento, the California Air Resources Board heard staff proposals to amend the year-old cap-and-trade program to extend “transition assistance” to industry through 2018. The change, coming on the heels of lobbying from industry, would give businesses possibly hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free allowances to pollute, and alter the economics of the emerging auction market for carbon.

S.F. BOARD WATCH: The Rent Is Too Damn High, and Other Viral Themes

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 30 2013 - 2:11pm

San Francisco supervisors are proposing legal changes in response to the escalating costs of residential and commercial properties. “There is truly a tale of two cities, and many of the people in this city are being displaced,” Supervisor David Campos said. “I don’t know that anyone has a panacea, if there is one, to deal with this crisis. That’s why I think it’s important for us to try different strategies.”

S.F. BOARD WATCH: Jack Spade Inspires Higher Threshold for Chain Store Ban

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 29 2013 - 9:48am

The restrictions on formula retail that apply to sections of San Francisco could soon be modified to expand the definition of what constitutes a chain store.  Plus: Dogs in the park  |  Sleeping in the park

S.F. BOARD WATCH: Supervisors Grapple With Half-Billion Dollar Price of New Jail

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 23 2013 - 3:24pm

San Francisco supervisors are still debating whether to commit the hundreds of millions of dollars it would take to build a replacement for the jail at 850 Bryant St., despite warnings that it could collapse during the next major earthquake. At least one supervisor, though, has come around to supporting it.

S.F. BOARD WATCH: City Workers to Contribute to Health Care Premiums

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 22 2013 - 12:12pm

Thousands of San Francisco employees will be required to pay a portion of their health care premiums under a new agreement the Board of Supervisors is expected to approve today. The changes will affect more than 6,000 workers who will begin paying 10 percent of their insurance premiums starting in January.

Also: Final Decision Expected for Potrero Ave. Apartments  |  Restricted Formula Retail on Third Street  |  City Partners With Kiva

S.F. BOARD WATCH: Neighbors Say Planning Department Pushing Through Potrero Hill Apartments

Josh Wolf, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 14 2013 - 4:14pm

A proposed six-story apartment building in Potrero Hill will irreparably change the face of the neighborhood by towering over nearby buildings and blocking sunlight, says a group of residents. They are accusing the Planning Department of pushing through the project and ignoring the environmental impact from construction.

HELP WANTED: City Hall Focuses on Hot Job Sectors, but Struggles to Track Workforce Training Budget

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Oct 8 2013 - 3:00pm

Behind the ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ mantra — Auditor says S.F.’s fractured workforce development system needs new strategy

Six years ago, San Francisco politicians called for better coordination of job training and placement services across the city. A new report reveals that since then, spending has more than doubled while control and evaluation of the sprawling system remain as elusive as ever.

At least 14 local agencies now independently operate an array of workforce development initiatives at an estimated combined cost of $70 million, the city’s budget and legislative analyst found. Without a common citywide strategy, no one has been able to measure accurately how many or what kinds of jobs are being filled, or how much is spent to prepare unemployed San Franciscans for new careers.

Mayor Ed Lee, whose approach to workforce development has focused on meeting the labor needs of some of the fastest-growing local industries, has ordered his own review this fall to map out all employment programs across the city.

SAN FRANCISCO’S WORKFORCE REBOOT is the cover story in the fall 2013 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. Check back for updates on other stories in the package.

How ‘Healthy San Francisco’ Matters – and Doesn’t – in Obamacare

Angela Hart, KQED — Oct 7 2013 - 9:14pm

Government shutdown temporarily aside, effective Jan. 1, 2014, most people need to carry health insurance or pay a fine. It’s called the “individual mandate.” If you’re signed up with Healthy San Francisco, there’s one very important thing you need to know: Healthy San Francisco is not health insurance. So, it’s not going to get you off the hook for that individual mandate.

Alumni, Veterans Struggle to Preserve City College of San Francisco (Video)

Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 12 2013 - 10:33am

Students, faculty and alumni at City College of San Francisco are grappling with the school’s loss of accreditation and its struggle to retrieve its status before it expires in the summer of 2014. Watch the video of a panel discussion that included a faculty union representative, alumni, journalists and veterans, voicing their perspectives on the effects of the school’s closure, and how it might be rescued. The panel’s host was the new Veterans Community Media Center  in San Francisco.

Less Than Expected: Minimum Wage Violations in San Francisco (Video)

Tearsa Joy Hammock, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 7 2013 - 10:44am

Mauricio Lozano, a Salvadoran immigrant, was paid below minimum wage to work at a North Beach pizzeria. With the help of local nonprofit organization, Young Workers United, and the San Francisco City Office of Labor Standards Enforcement, Lozano won his case, recovering his rightfully earned wages.

Many Residents in the Dark About California Carbon Cap-and-Trade, Survey Finds

Lisa Weinzimer, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 6 2013 - 12:45pm

A majority of California residents have never heard about the state’s landmark cap-and-trade program to limit greenhouse gas emissions from industry, a survey from the Public Policy Institute of California shows. While 54 percent of state residents sampled had heard nothing about the new multibillion-dollar carbon market, 33 percent had heard a little and 12 percent a lot, the survey, which was released July 31, found.

California Carbon Trading Would Counteract Emissions From Expanded Chevron Refinery, State Says

Anna Vignet, San Francisco Public Press — Aug 5 2013 - 3:30pm

The hundreds of activists on hand Saturday at Chevron’s Richmond refinery to protest its contribution to global warming might be surprised to learn that California says it has found a way to control the company’s carbon footprint within the state, despite its plans to expand. 

What Does Approval of Plan Bay Area Mean for Region?

San Francisco Public Press — Jul 22 2013 - 2:14pm

The controversial Plan Bay Area was given the green light by the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Friday. The regional transportation and housing plan is meant to cut greenhouse gas emissions while allowing for more housing growth.  San Francisco Public Press reporter Angela Hart appeared  on KQED's Forum to discuss the plan.

Oakland Protests George Zimmerman Acquittal

Jason Winshell, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 22 2013 - 1:21pm

There were protests Saturday around the country over the not guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman for the slaying of teenager Trayvon Martin in Flordia. Hundreds turned out in Oakland to remember the dead teenager and call for federal action in the case. 

Make Money, Save the Planet Board Game

Anna Vignet, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 17 2013 - 10:08am

Update 8/2/13: Listen to Public Press editor Michael Stoll and illustrator Anna Vignet interviewed on KALW-FM about how to design a board game to teach people how California’s cap-and-trade program works.

Is it possible to maximize your individual profits while reducing overall pollution? That’s the billion-dollar game California has now started. The goal for California industries is to work collectively to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. They do this by trading “allowances” to emit carbon — and hopefully making a profit along the way. This game board is part of a special report on climate change in the Summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Planners Claim Reduction in Car Pollution, but Details Show Overall Increase

Angela Hart, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 15 2013 - 10:28am

Inscrutable “per capita” and “business as usual” comparisons hide rise in total greenhouse gases

Essentially, it’s a math trick: The per capita figure hides a predicted regional population growth of 28 percent. That means total passenger vehicle emissions regionwide would actually rise by 9.1 percent — an indication that regional planning is not helping California’s efforts to become a model in combating climate change.

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

Big-Time Preservation, Thanks to Carbon Credits

Dan Rademacher, Bay Nature — Jul 10 2013 - 10:22am

A 19,000-acre area in Sonoma County is spared from vineyard and housing development

Carbon credits were essential to funding the big costs that come along with managing such large tracts. The nonprofit’s best estimate is that the credits will yield “several hundred thousand dollars” in annual income, based on similar deals on other parcels. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

California’s Market for Hard-to-Verify Carbon Offsets Could Let Industry Pollute as Usual

Maureen Nandini Mitra and Michael Stoll, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 8 2013 - 1:21pm

Timber, dairy and chemical companies are lining up to sell  carbon credits, which regulators call “offsets,” to the largest California polluters so they can compensate for their greenhouse gas emissions. Many environmentalists say that because it is notoriously difficult to prove that such projects actually reduce the state’s overall carbon footprint, California should proceed slowly in approving a vast expansion of the cap-and-trade market. This story is part of a special report on climate change in the summer print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

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

Chorel Centers and Kevin Forestieri, San Francisco Public Press — Jul 6 2013 - 4:31pm

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.