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North Bay Fires: What Took Authorities So Long to Warn People?

By Marisa Lagos, Sukey Lewis and Lisa Pickoff-White, KQED News Fix

Around 10 p.m. on the night of Oct. 8, 2017, an unidentified woman frantically called 911.

“We are blocked, and we can’t get out of here,” she said.

It was her second call of the night, and her voice sounded shaky. She was trapped behind a tree in the Franz Valley area northwest of Calistoga as a neighboring house went up in flames.

Read the complete story at KQED News Fix.

Mark Farrell Is Your New Mayor — and Let the Games Begin

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

Moments after he provided the sixth and deciding vote to oust London Breed from the position of acting mayor and install Mark Farrell as caretaker, Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, all 6-foot-4 of him, was sprawled out in a seat in his City Hall office. He looked spent. He was spent.

He had voiced his “ayes” for Farrell in a willowy near-whisper, triggering an extended period of bedlam in the board chambers in which Breed’s largely African-American supporters noisily shut down the Tuesday night meeting, accused the board of reviving Jim Crow in 2018 and locked eyes with the District 8 Supe and charged him — yes, you, Jeff Sheehy — with wholesale racism. When livid members of the public leaned in, shouted his name, and unloaded vast quantities of vitriol, Sheehy did not return their gaze. He seemed to be in a faraway place.  

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

How Trump’s Solar Tax Could Affect California’s Energy Plans

By Julie Cart, CALmatters

It’s too soon to say if the Trump administration’s decision to impose stiff tariffs on cheap Chinese solar panels will make it more difficult for California to dramatically ramp up renewable energy.

But the move — which adds a 30 percent tax on imported solar components — will certainly make it more expensive.

Read the complete story at CALmatters. 

San Francisco Retools Its Relationship With Airbnb

By Joe Eskenazi, Mission Local

There’s a funny story about the ascension of Karol Wojtyla to Pope John Paul II. Upon hearing the news, a shell-shocked colonel in the Polish secret police uttered, “My God, from now on we’ll have to kiss his ass.” A savvier Party secretary replied, “Only if he lets us.”

At 12 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 17, Kevin Guy became San Francisco’s pope of short-term rentals. Some 2,080 illegal Airbnb listings vanished into the ether in that very nanosecond. And they were, definitionally, illegal: As of that minute, a short-term rental host who proves he or she is following city laws and earns a license issued by Guy’s Office of Short-Term Rentals is legal, and a host who doesn’t have one is illegal and excommunicated — period.

Read the complete story at Mission Local.

S.F. Police Dept. Won't Cooperate During Expected U.S. Immigration Raids, Chief Says

Mission Local

San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said at Wednesday’s Police Commission meeting that his officers will not cooperate with U.S. immigration agents during raids that are expected soon in Northern California.

“Our instructions have been clear in terms of our policies … SFPD will not assist in any federal immigration enforcement,” he said. “That’s the message we’re putting forward to make sure all our members understand our policies in the spirit of the laws here in our city.”  

Read the story at Mission Local.

Why Homelessness in San Francisco Seems to Be Growing When It's Not


Many San Franciscans believe that homelessness has been growing. In 2016, residents called 311 to complain about encampments five times more than in the previous year.

What’s confusing is — the population of homeless people in the city has  stayed relatively flat.

So, if the numbers aren’t changing, what is? Three reasons.

Read the story at KALW/Crosscurrents.

Schools Become 'Safe Haven' for Salvadoran Students in Wake of Crackdown


California schools are bracing for the impact of the Trump administration’s decision to kick out thousands of Salvadoran immigrants.

“It’s a calamity for families who’ve built their lives here, own homes, own their own businesses, pay taxes, are part of the community,” said Juan Rivera of Carecen SF, a nonprofit that helps Central American immigrants in the Bay Area. “Sending these families back to a situation of extreme violence and poverty — it’s horrible to put children in that position. While this moves forward, schools can provide a safe haven.”

Read the story at EdSource.

How the San Francisco School Lottery Works — or Not

KQED News Fix

For many San Franciscans, S.F. Unified School District’s student assignment system — the so-called lottery — can be overwhelming, stressful and baffling.

In many places around the United States, where a child lives determines where he or she attends school. San Francisco does not use this model  because of segregated housing patterns. Creating diverse schools is a school district goal.

Read the story at KQED News Fix.

Lead in the Drinking Fountain? California Schools Must Now Test for It

KQED News Fix/CALmatters

Lead, a neurotoxin, causes developmental disorders and brain damage. No amount of lead in humans is considered safe.

A new law requires public schools to get their drinking water sampled for lead and notify parents if they find traces of it. Districts  have until July 2019 to test all campuses, including charter schools.

Read the story at KQED NewsFix/CALmatters.

Mission District Reacts to the End of Protected Status for Salvadoran Immigrants

By JoeBill Muñoz, Mission Local

On an already gloomy and rainy day in San Francisco, Salvadorans with temporary protected status in the city learned that they may be forced to leave the country by Sept. 2019, Trump’s administration announced Monday.

The Temporary Protected Status  program allowed Salvadorans to live and work in the United States after a devastating 2001 earthquake in their home country. The Department of Homeland Security’s statement said: “The substantial disruption of living conditions caused by the earthquake no longer exist.”

Read the complete story at Mission Local.