Mid-Market: The shape it’s in. Who owns it. What’s next.

Marjorie Beggs, Jonathan Newman and Geoff Link, Central City Extra — Feb 8 2010 - 3:17pm

We call it the plywood parade — the relentless march up Market Street from Fifth to Eighth of boarded-up or erratically open storefronts, emptying offices in the upper stories and crumbling facades. Some 31 percent of the storefronts on this stretch of Market Street are vacant. Both local government and businesses are trying to restore this faded area of Market Street into a vibrant commercial center. The three mid-Market blocks mostly look like hell.

City to carve out more contracts for ‘micro’ businesses

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Feb 3 2010 - 6:13pm

In a bid to make it easier for local businesses to grow in a down economy, San Francisco supervisors want to give more small, city-based firms a competitive edge in city contracts.

Census methods could provide lift to hidden homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Feb 1 2010 - 4:43pm

The 2010 Census may address an old problem in dealing with San Francisco’s homeless population by getting an accurate head count. The city’s homeless figures have ranged between about 6,500 and 8,600 people in the last decade, but the real number is anybody’s guess. The sketchy knowledge of who is living on the street has been a big impediment to perennial attempts to solve the crisis.

A possible path to bikes on the Bay Bridge

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Jan 28 2010 - 1:03pm

While the Bay Area Toll Authority met on Wednesday morning to vote on Bay Area bridge toll increases, dozens of bicycle activists demonstrated support for the building of a bicycle and pedestrian pathway addition to the Bay Bridge’s western span. They are pressing bridge officials to pave the way for a cross-bay bike lane. But construction of the pathway, which could double as a maintenance and safety shoulder, remains hung up in a bureaucratic no-man’s land: it has garnered some public support, but it is not clear who has legislative power to funnel toll revenue to new projects.

Gay teen shelter closure helps span city budget gap

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 27 2010 - 2:47pm

The Ark House, a faith-based shelter for black gay, lesbian and bisexual teens, may shut its doors March 1 if the Department of Health’s proposed cuts are approved. The program’s closure, which is expected to save the city more than $400,000 a year, is one of a handful the city hopes to enact in the middle of its fiscal year to balance the budget. The projected deficit for the year starting in July is $522.2 million.

In Prop 8 marriage trial, who exactly is an expert?

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Jan 26 2010 - 5:08pm

A Southern California political scientist had a rocky time during cross-examination Monday and Tuesday at federal court in the trial to overturn Proposition 8, the measure passed by voters in 2008 that limits marriage to a man and woman. Defenders of the ban on gay marriage opened their segment of the trial Monday with testimony by Kenneth Miller, a professor at Claremont McKenna College. He had testified early Monday that the gay and lesbian community has numerous allies and a great deal of power and influence. The pro-Proposition 8 legal team is taking issue with the challengers’ view that gays and lesbians are a persecuted and powerless group. At issue is whether the ban on marriage is unconstitutional discrimination.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Bayview-Hunters Point India Basin and Mission Bay

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 25 2010 - 11:06am

In 2008, an art collaboration between professional artists and youth from Literacy for Environmental Justice, headed by Wendy Testu, began in Bayview-Hunters Point. Using scavenged material, the group transformed refuse into art pieces — a mixed media collage, a visual listening pod, an “insert here” project, screenprint design and photomontage.

‘Big Year’ promotes saving local endangered species (Photo Gallery)

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 20 2010 - 6:00pm

In an effort to educate visitors to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area about the 33 endangered species that inhabit it, Bay Area conservationists and local residents gathered Jan. 9 for the 2010 Endangered Species Big Year.

Lawyer leads fight to save species on city-owned golf course

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Jan 19 2010 - 2:33am

Environmental lawyer Brent Plater has single-handedly brought the fight to close the Sharp Park Golf Course to the attention of San Francisco city leaders, who are on the verge of making the city-owned course in Pacifica a high-profile example of local leadership to save endangered species on public lands.

A leader in several groups such as Wild Equity and the Sierra Club, Plater also is the mastermind behind the Big Year contest to discover more rare plants and animals on public land as a way of saving and expanding sensitive endangered species’ habitats.

Earthquake readiness tips for 2010

Ambika Kandasamy and Lizzy Tomei, The Public Press — Dec 30 2009 - 5:00pm

Local experts released a report in 2009 identifying thousands of residential buildings in the city that a major quake could render unlivable — and that was just based on a partial survey. And with seismologists saying that there’s a 63 percent chance the Bay Area will suffer a powerful earthquake within the next 30 years, there is a need to act soon to remedy the problem.

Bay Area green firms band together to lobby Washington

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Dec 28 2009 - 3:41pm

Green and socially responsible business are flexing their collective lobbying muscles to have their concerns heard in Washington, with firms from the Bay Area leading the way.

Kwanzaa celebration focuses on youth

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Dec 28 2009 - 1:52pm

A local Kwanzaa celebration at the African American Art and Culture Complex will highlight Nia, the fifth of the holiday’s seven principles.

Three quick, cheap kids’ holiday hits

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Dec 25 2009 - 11:00am

For better or worse, the holidays are a time to spend with the family. Here are three activities to take the edge off.

Citywide vaccine clinic plans began years ago

Monica Jensen and Jon Kawamoto, SF Public Press — Dec 24 2009 - 1:52pm
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The plans for Tuesday's vaccine clinic, in which thousands of San Franciscans received swine flu shots, had been in the works for years, according to a spokeswoman for the city Department of Public Health.

Hughes’ ‘Black Nativity’ is uplifting holiday musical

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Dec 23 2009 - 7:16pm

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Public Press partner KALW Public Radio spoke with Thomas Robert Simpson, artistic director of AfroSolo Theater Company, about Black Nativity.

The gospel-inspired holiday musical “Black Nativity,” currently being performed by the cast of Lorraine Hansberry Theatre at the Marines Memorial Theatre through Dec. 27, was written by Langston Hughes and was one of the first performances by an African American to play on Broadway.

Underground farmers market finds home in Mission District

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Dec 22 2009 - 5:19pm
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Acorn flour, wild fennel seeds and homemade sarsaparilla (that’s soda for all you non-foodies) are just some of the treats that have found their way into a new alternative farmers market. This underground bazaar sponsored by the founder of forageSF is a house party, dinner party and street fair rolled into one. Small vendors who can’t afford commercial kitchens or a booth at SF’s official farmers market are hawking their food on the second-floor flat of a Victorian.

Death of bilingual newspaper leaves void in Japanese American community

Conor Gallagher, SF Public Press — Dec 14 2009 - 5:05pm

One of the last bilingual Japanese-English newspapers in San Francisco has ceased its print publication and will likely end its Internet edition in the near future, leaving Japantown residents disappointed and searching for new sources of information.

New transit center to displace SoMa neighbors

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Dec 11 2009 - 1:15pm

South of Market business owners and residents are conflicted over plans for an ambitious new transit-center redevelopment. They say that while the project may be good for the city and the Bay Area, it's bad for their livelihoods. Among those being pressured to relocate are 26 businesses, at least 24 live-work lofts and eight parking lots operators.

Copenhagen climate talks teleported to San Francisco

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Dec 10 2009 - 6:56pm

Any question you have about the environment — the best eco-clothing line or whether climate change is a hoax — David Pascal and company will try to answer it, as part of their Copenhagen Café, a two-week-long environmental salon in downtown San Francisco that will parallel the U.N. climate talks underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Unparalleled bridge, unprecedented cost

Patricia Decker and Robert Porterfield, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:50pm

When completed, the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be not only the most complex engineering feat in California history, but also the most expensive, with a cost never subjected to public scrutiny. Although today’s price tag stands at $6.3 billion, the figure accounts for only salaries and hard materials—things like concrete and steel and cranes. When all is said and done, the new Bay Bridge will wind up costing tax- and toll-payers more than $12 billion—a figure that leaves even the officials in charge “staggered.”