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City Budget Watchdog: Reporting on San Francisco's half-billion-dollar hole
OUR LATEST FUND APPEAL ON SPOT.US
In the summer of 2009 (see timeline, below) the city of San Francisco became engulfed in a severe budget crisis. The city's deficit stood at $438.1 million, forcing administration of Mayor Gavin Newsom to ask each city department to cut its bottom line by at least 25 percent. In June and July, city administrators slashed their budgets and, in some instances, completely eliminated public health and social welfare programs, in an economic climate in which San Franciscans need them the most.
The Public Press partnered with the journalism micro-funding project Spot.us to cover this deepening crisis on a day-to-day basis. We proved a primary source for in-depth reporting on who is making the cuts and how the "budget blues" were felt by all of city's communities.
In late August, thanks to 80 individual donors, the Public Press was able to reach its $5,000 three-monht fundraising goal to pay nine reporters to produce the stories below. Visit the Spot.us City Budget Watchdog page to see how this was done. To the donors: thank you! You have helped power independent noncommercial public media in the Bay Area.
From the minutiae to the big picture, several San Francisco supervisors discuss aspects of the city's budget crisis in their own words.
The Public Press and KALW (91.7 FM) teamed up for a budget roundtable that aired Aug. 17 on the "Crosscurrents" news program. A panel of local experts offered a lively and informative on-the-air discussion about San Francisco’s budget crisis and its impacts on residents and communities.
Also on KALW:
Ben Trefny of "Crosscurrents" on KALW Public Radio interviewed Christopher Cook, project editor for the City Budget Watchdog series, about the impact of state and local budget cuts on seniors and poor people in San Francisco. The conversation aired Sept. 30 on KALW's (91.7 FM) Crosscurrents news program.
Newsmaker: Christopher Cook on health care cuts
9/30/09 4:31 pm
- SF leaders float drink fee to help balance budget (9/18/09)
- State cuts set to slam San Francisco’s seniors, poor (9/16/2009)
- SF Supes skirt law in restoring funds to service providers (8/20/2009)
- City won't move mental health clinic, raises privacy concerns (8/3/2009)
- City budget shuffle moves geriatric center (7/25/2009)
- Public defender and children's services win back funds as revised budget passes in San Francisco (7/22/2009)
- Fire department OT pay increased amid citywide budget cuts (7/15/2009)
- Supes on: the budget — 'Our side allowed the mayor to get what they wanted,' says Mirkarimi (7/10/2009)
- A tale of two zip codes: Recession worsens rights gap between rich and poor (7/7/2009)
- Supes on: the budget - David Campos says the debate between public saftey and public health is a 'false choice' (7/6/2009)
- Late-night San Francisco budget plan adds back millions to health and welfare spending (7/2/2009)
- Conflicting interests: City unions wage lobbying war to stem cuts (7/1/09)
- Supes on: the budget -- cutbacks are fiscal 'armageddon,' Daly says (6/25/2009)
- Mayor restores funding for Tenderloin drop-in center (6/22/2009)
- Vote moves $82 million from public safety to public health (6/17/2009)
- SF budget cuts target behavioral health (6/11/2009)
- Supervisors urge shift of $82 million from cops and fire to health (6/11/2009)
- Perfect storm of bad economic news led to San Francisco's budget scramble (6/9/2009)
- The San Francisco budget: a user's guide (6/9/2009)
- Homeless counseling group first on Health Dept. chopping block (6/2/2009)
- Supes approve Muni budget after Chiu yields (5/13/2009)
- Cabbies steamed over proposed taxi overhaul (5/12/2009)
- Fuse is burning in Muni budget showdown (5/7/2009)
- SF budget cuts test city's liberal image (4/15/2009)
- City looks to make dangerous stretch of Masonic safer for cyclists (3/20/2009)
Timeline by Mary Catherine Plunkett and Kristina Shevory