California Attorney General Plans Few Privacy Law Enforcement Actions, Telling Consumers to Take Violators to Court

Yuri Nagano, San Francisco Public Press — May 15 2019 - 2:01pm

Attorney General Xavier Becerra says his office is ill equipped to prosecute violations of the state’s landmark data-privacy law, which takes effect in January. Only a handful of the most egregious cases will be handled per year. Instead, he wants aggrieved consumers to take violators to court on their own.

S.F. Report: Benefits of Buying PG&E’s Grid Outweigh Costs, Risks

Michael Winter, San Francisco Public Press — May 13 2019 - 6:31pm

A San Francisco Public Utilities Commission report foresees big benefits and potential savings from the city buying PG&E’s electrical grid. But the costs and risks are also big.

Justice Dept. Responds to Public Press Request for Mueller Report on Trump

Michael Winter, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 5 2019 - 7:30am

We filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the complete report by Robert S. Mueller III hours after Attorney General William Barr released a four-page summary of the special counsel's investigation into President Trump and his 2016 campaign. Here's the official reply — and the 448-page redacted report, which was released April 18.

Environmentalists Say They Were Shut Out of Talks on Building Housing Faster

Kevin Stark, San Francisco Public Press — Apr 1 2019 - 8:00am

Soon after becoming governor, Gavin Newsom unveiled a plan to speed housing construction — but at the expense of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, which has acted as a check on development for 50 years. Newsom crafted his blueprint with input from builders and the largest construction union. Prominent environmental groups were excluded, however.

Writing the Rules on Data Privacy in S.F. Could Disrupt the Disrupters

Andrew Stelzer, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 25 2019 - 8:00am

As city officials this spring craft a “privacy-first policy” mandated by voter-approved Proposition B, supporters hope its lofty ambitions will start to become a reality this summer. Already there are signs that the city could move to the forefront of enforcing limits on data collection and reshaping our relationship with technology companies.

Sued by Tenants, Veritas Says it Maintains ‘High Standards’

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 18 2019 - 8:00am

I n reporting on the tenant lawsuit against Veritas Investments Inc., the Public Press engaged company spokesman Ron Heckmann at length. Here are excerpts of some of our questions and his responses.

Searching for Truth in Tenants’ Lawsuit Against S.F. Corporate Landlord

Noah Arroyo, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 12 2019 - 8:00am

More than 100 tenants in 39 rent-controlled apartment buildings have sued the owner, Veritas Investment Inc., for behavior they allege is designed to push them out in favor of  new, higher-paying residents. The $3 billion company denies the charges, alleging the lawsuit is a money grab.

Counting the City’s Homeless: A First-Hand Account From the Streets

Yesica Prado, San Francisco Public Press — Mar 7 2019 - 9:01am

Point-in-Time counts are “snapshots” of a city’s homeless population, relying on volunteers’ perceptions of homelessness. As such, the surveys are prone to error. They also fail to gather specifics about age and ethnicity, and don't provide a full picture of the most vulnerable growing populations: infants and the elderly.

Why Privacy Needs All of Us

Cyrus Farivar, Dec 17 2018 - 8:30am

One American city has gone further than any other in creating a workable solution to the current inadequacy of surveillance law: Oakland, which has pushed a pro-privacy public policy along an unprecedented path. Its Privacy Advisory Commission acts as a meaningful check on city agencies — most often, police — that want to acquire any kind of surveillance technology.

State Law Cracks Down on Free Public Meals

Yesica Prado, San Francisco Public Press — Dec 10 2018 - 12:08pm

Many city residents who are not housed or are food insecure depend on humanitarian aid from Food Not Bombs to survive. But state regulations taking effect in January jeopardize the group's 35-year mission of sharing food outside the confines of government bureaucracy.