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Bay Area

Can San Francisco add 150,000 more people?

Alison Hawkes, SF Public Press — Jun 19 2012 - 10:55am

As the Bay Area struggles to meet sustainability goals, double-digit population growth presents a clear challenge to reducing the region’s ecological footprint. Residents must use resources more efficiently to counteract the addition of more than a million new residents. In many ways, it mirrors a challenge the planet is facing. Can population growth in San Francisco and the Bay Area be sustainable?

Officials say planning for regional smart growth prevents ‘a world of hurt’

Chase Niesner, SF Public Press — Jun 15 2012 - 9:21pm

The leaders of Bay Area planning agencies are struggling to persuade local governments and community groups that joint planning will make the region more socially, economically and environmentally healthy. Dealing with sprawl, the focus of the summer print edition of the Public Press, was front and center on Friday’s edition of “Forum,” the daily public-affairs talk show on KQED Radio.

Mien farmers cultivate their own garden in East Oakland

Rachael Myrow, KQED News Fix — May 24 2012 - 2:36pm

In the heart of East Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park is an incongruous reminder of California’s Mexican past: 6 acres of open space in a sea of single-family homes. What was once a massive ranchero now features a Victorian house surrounded by carefully tended vegetable gardens. Ben Glickstein is director of outreach here. He says back in 1820, Antonio Peralta had big agricultural dreams for this stretch of land that slopes down to Peralta Creek. "And we’re still using this for agriculture, for food, here in the middle of this pretty urban neighborhood."

Bay Area program helps seniors, disabled live independently

Matt Perry, California Watch — Apr 18 2012 - 1:56pm

“I don’t know how any senior can handle all of this stuff,” sighs Mary Anne Humphrey, 68, who suffers from limited mobility due to a spinal cord injury. Humphrey is explaining the endless paperwork, social services, doctor appointments, benefit plans and medications she juggles as a disabled senior. Fortunately, Humphrey is one of 1,200 San Francisco County residents who have received help over the past five years from a unique Bay Area program that keeps older adults and the disabled living independently: the Community Living Fund.

Infamous Berkeley human trafficking case’s long shadow: KALW News interviews reporter Viji Sundaram

Michael Stoll, SF Public Press — Mar 18 2012 - 5:40pm

The story of Lakireddy Balireddy made international headlines in the early 2000s, but what happened in the decade since then was even more important, said reporter Viji Sundaram of New America Media and part of a team project on human trafficking in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Last week Sundaram sat down with KALW News host Holly Kernan to discuss her reporting on the history of efforts to battle human trafficking in the Bay Area and California.

U.S. visas help trafficking victims, if applicants can vault legal hurdles

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Feb 21 2012 - 11:58am

Chance for permanent residency, access to federal benefits hinge on cooperating with law enforcement

This special report appeared in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

A special visa created 12 years ago to save thousands of victims of human trafficking and curb international human trafficking has been vastly underutilized. Attorneys for rescued victims seeking residency protection say law enforcement agencies are often unwilling or slow to “certify” victims’ claims of having been brought to the U.S. to work by force, fraud or coercion. Legal experts and social service providers in high-trafficking regions, including the San Francisco Bay Area, suggest that victims are placed in a dangerous dilemma: Promising to cooperate with an investigation could possibly help their visa cases, but it could also expose them and their families back home to retaliation.

How an infamous Berkeley human trafficking case fueled reform

Viji Sundaram, New America Media / SF Public Press — Feb 16 2012 - 10:43am

Advocates for increased prison terms say 10-year-old sex trafficking case changed conversation

This special report appeared in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press. (Read in Spanish at La Opiñon/Impremedia. Leer en español en La Opiñon/Impremedia.)

Lakireddy Balireddy shocked the Bay Area a decade ago when investigators discovered how the Berkeley landlord transported young women and girls from India for sex. He served eight years in prison. His case still inspires reformers who want to put human traffickers away for longer.This year’s campaign to get tougher anti-trafficking laws on the November ballot as a voter initiative is the latest attempt to deal with what proponents call the unfinished business of legal reform.

Bay Area agencies improvise tactics to battle trafficking

Jason Winshell, SF Public Press — Feb 15 2012 - 12:47pm

With little guidance from state leaders, local police, nonprofits fight for scarce funding

This special report appeared in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

Across California, local agencies have been left to scramble for limited resources and improvise strategies to fight human trafficking, a problem whose scope has yet to be defined with reliable numbers. A high-profile state task force studying California’s human trafficking problem made 46 recommendations in October 2007 but set up no mechanism to monitor progress. Attorney General Kamala Harris has begun picking up the pieces this year. But without clear guidance from the state, nine regional task forces sprung up to devise their own solutions. Their efforts have been supported mostly by federal grants. But as the funding rules become more stringent, the groups at times have been pitted against each other for resources.

Bike theft on the rise at BART stations

Agustin Armendariz and Mihir Zaveri, California Watch — Feb 8 2012 - 4:14pm

Jay Fraser knows what it's like to lock a bicycle at a Bay Area Rapid Transit station and return to an empty rack. Fraser is a research analyst for the Administrative Office of the Courts in San Francisco and has commuted by bike for 20 years, 10 of them in the Bay Area. He had a bike stolen at the Pleasant Hill/Contra Costa Centre BART station and a seat stolen at the Walnut Creek station. Like Fraser, hundreds of other commuters have parked a bike at a BART stop and returned to find it gone or stripped of parts.

Leapin' lizards — it's Leap Year again

Michele Anderson, SF Public Press — Jan 23 2012 - 7:58pm

Storifying has come to SF Public Press. From time to time, we will be gleaning the best from social media to  amplify our coverage. This is our first storification: our take on 2012, a Leap Year. We hear from the academics, the artists, the cognescenti on the Mayan apocalypse -- as well as many people in the universe of social media who have expressed an opinion on this unique component of the Gregorian calendar. 

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