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Amid Housing Crisis, S.F. Builds Fewer Units Last Year Than in 2016

By Julian Mark, Mission Local

As the mayoral race heats up, the city got some sobering news: Despite all the talk about the need for more housing, the city added fewer new units last year than it had in 2016.

San Francisco added 4,441 housing units in 2017 — a 12 percent decrease, compared to net additions in 2016. Last year’s additions, however, are well above the 10-year average of 2,745 units built each year.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

As Winter Shelters Close, Hundreds Are Sent Back Out to the Street

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

When winter comes, Bay Area cities open temporary shelters to keep unhoused residents warm and dry. But, as winter comes to an end, these shelters close down. In Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco about 500 homeless people will be back on the streets.

Dorothy Day, in Berkeley is one of these shelters. It’s set to close for the year this Sunday, April 15.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Could Proposition 13 Reform Help Ease the State’s Housing Crisis?

By Liza Veale, KALW/Crosscurrents

If you’ve heard of Proposition 13, you probably know that it cut property taxes in 1978, which reduced funding for public schools and other services. It also has a lot to do with the state’s shortage of housing and, many argue, the fact that rents are so darn high.

Repeal efforts have failed for years, but the affordability crisis may mean that the time for change has finally arrived.

Yet the new proposed ballot initiative is a compromise of sorts.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Backers of California Privacy Ballot Measure Hand-Deliver Letter to Facebook

By Marisa Lagos, The California Report

Mary Stone Ross left her Oakland home Monday morning and drove to Menlo Park in search of Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

After 10 minutes of driving around the tech giant's campus, Ross found a place to park near Building 20. She marched inside and asked if she could hand-deliver a letter to Sandberg.

About five minutes later, a man at the front desk apologized, saying Sandberg and her staff were in and out of meetings. He told her that for security reasons, they couldn't accept the letter and to use snail mail instead.

Read the complete story at The California Report.

Assembly Candidates Get 'Radical' in Empathy Workshop

By Guy Marzorati, KQED News Fix

For nearly a year, candidates for the open 15th District state Assembly seat in the East Bay have been raising money, knocking on doors and participating in an endless series of debates and forums.

On Saturday, they had to put their stump speeches aside and focus on two ideas that may seem out of place during campaign season: empathy and caring.

The goal of the Radical Empathy Forum was to get candidates in one of the state's most competitive legislative races to model active listening and to discuss how to build a more caring and empathic culture.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Lawyer John Burris, Black Activists, Stump for Tasers — and Against Police Union’s Taser Measure

By Julian Mark, Mission Local

On Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, civil rights attorney John Burris, along with the organization Brothers Against Guns, announced their support for arming San Francisco cops with Tasers.

But only if the weapons’ use policy is subject to strict civilian oversight.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

S.F. Supervisors Thumb Noses at SB827

By Michael Toren, Mission Local

Following dueling press conferences, protests and counterprotests, the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday went on record about SB827, state Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill in the California Legislature that would reduce restrictions on height and density for residential developments near transit lines.

They don’t like it.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

California Campuses Confront a Growing Challenge: Homeless Students

By Felicia Mello, CALmatters

The dream was always the same, Arthur Chavez says. He was following a bumblebee through a forest, stumbling over puddles and branches. When he caught the bee, he would find himself onstage, wearing a suit, in front of an applauding crowd.

After the third time, Chavez decided the dream was a sign. He quit his job at a Fullerton gas station and enrolled in community college, on his way to a bachelor’s degree.

His first semester as a transfer student at Sacramento State, he started participating in the ROTC, lost 75 pounds, and declared a double-major in psychology and humanities/religious studies. He planned to become an Army officer, which he hoped would help him obtain U.S. citizenship for his mother.

Read the complete story at CALmatters.

For more in-depth coverage of issues of homelessness, read the Public Press special reports on solving homelessness: an update, solving homelessness and navigating homelessness

The Most Visited State Park System in the Nation Is Remaking Itself and Wants Your Buy-In

By Alissa Greenberg, Bay Nature

On a Sunday afternoon in midwinter, tendrils of thin afternoon light drift through the branches of the oldest avocado tree in Santa Cruz County, illuminating a courtyard carpeted with deep green grass and framed by walls of centuries-old adobe. At a picnic table under the tree, Bella Kressman leads the Meuse family — 8-year-old Stella, 3-year-old Skyler and their parents, Eric and Sarah — through a traditional craft workshop.

They chat as they work. “Have you ever been to an event like this?” Kressman asks.

Eric says no; until today, he didn’t know the historic mission was here at all, though he and his family often camp at the many state parks around Santa Cruz. “Longtime listeners, first-time callers!” he jokes.

It would be easy to find versions of this scene in state parks all over California: community members enjoying well-preserved historical and natural spaces and engaging a little more richly with their world. But look closer and there’s an important difference. Once the family leaves, Kressman goes back into the park store to run the cash register. A sign over her shoulder reads, “Thanks — your purchase supports local state parks and beaches. Get a 15 percent discount by joining Friends today.”

Read the complete story at Bay Nature. 

Persistent Poison: A Solution Within Reach

By Angela Johnston & Marissa Ortega-Welch, KALW/Crosscurrents

In Alameda County, which has some of the highest lead levels in the country, an energetic public health nurse helps families after their child has been lead poisoned. But her work is a stopgap solution. What’s the answer to preventing leading poisoning before it starts?

In her job as a public health nurse, Diep Tran deals with the worst cases of lead poisoning in Alameda county. She has a lot of hard days, but today is a good day.

Read the complete story at KALW/Crosscurrents.