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Bay Area

Decades after Sonoma ‘Running Fence,’ Christo still making art — and waves

Erin Van Rheenen, Special to SF Public Press — Nov 24 2010 - 11:23am

New documentary examines public battles over revolutionary installation.

Bureaucracy has once again issued a daunting challenge to the art of Christo, this time “Over the River,” his proposed temporary installation of shimmering fabric across the Arkansas River in Colorado. The battle, waged this summer, mirrors one that arose just across the Golden Gate Bridge in the early 1970s, when Christo and his French wife/collaborator, Jeanne-Claude, fought government and naysayers to create “Running Fence.”

Huge development on fringe of Bay sparks debate over ‘smart growth’

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Nov 10 2010 - 1:11pm

New community of up to 12,000 homes, offices and schools would be built on site of Cargill Saltworks in Redwood City.

A wide dirt road cuts through the middle of the large, multi-hued salt harvesting ponds that stretch as far as the eye can see. Except for a few heavy trucks that trundle past, and a couple of ramshackle buildings, not much sign of human activity is visible on this stark, sweeping landscape in Redwood City, on the southern fringe of the San Francisco Bay.

State Department courts tech entrepreneurs to aid in development, diplomacy

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Oct 19 2010 - 5:51pm

The Bay Area's innovators and social entrepreneurs have been invited by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to contribute their ideas for furthering diplomacy and development using new technology. Clinton said the State Department is embracing technological advances pioneered in the Bay Area to aid communication across the globe.

Some funds restored, temperature lowered at UC protests

Rosemary Macaulay, SF Public Press — Oct 13 2010 - 5:40pm

Students, staff and faculty protested across nine UC campuses last week in defense of public education after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the 2010-2011 state budget, which partially restores the deep budget cuts made to higher education last year. Though less fired up than they had been during the previous year’s demonstrations, the protesters at Berkeley remained far from satisfied.

Story in progress: ‘Smart growth’ or bay fill in Redwood City? ABAG has the numbers

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 20 2010 - 1:50pm

The Bay Area needs more homes for its growing population, but does it make sense to house 30,000 people on unstable land, in earthquake country, that’s also at high risk of inundation by rising sea waters? A massive development proposal on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay, in one of the last potentially developable areas in the region, is raising questions about the definition of smart growth. [The Public Press is developing an in-depth report for the fall print edition and the website. We are raising funds on the journalism micro-funding site Spot.us to pay for the reporting and photography on the story.]

Judge orders release of documents in failed CalPERS real estate investment

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 15 2010 - 5:13pm

A judge has ordered the California Public Employees' Retirement System to release key documents related to a failed $100 million real estate investment in East Palo Alto. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Charlotte Wollard wrote in her ruling in the lawsuit by the First Amendment Coalition that public interest in the documents "far outweighs any asserted interest in non-disclosure'' given the amount of public money lost.

Is it ‘smart growth’ to build in the San Francisco Bay? Updates from the field

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Sep 13 2010 - 5:45pm

The Bay Area needs more homes for its growing population, but does it make sense to house 30,000 people on unstable land, in earthquake country, that’s also at high risk of inundation by rising sea waters? A massive development proposal on the fringes of the San Francisco Bay, in one of the last potentially developable areas in the region, is raising questions about the definition of smart growth. [The Public Press is developing an in-depth report for the fall print edition and the website. We are raising funds on the journalism micro-funding site Spot.us to pay for the reporting and photography on the story.]

Utopianism behind them, co-ops seek new strength helping low-wage workers

Mineko Brand, SF Public Press — Sep 9 2010 - 11:00am

Worker-owned cooperatives are growing as an alternative business model that puts the people who do the work in control. And they are getting a lot more organized than in the recent past, turning local networks into regional and national organizations. With the Bay Area still grappling with high unemployment rates and a weak economy, co-op advocates say they have a solution that is gaining momentum. Membership in the United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives has grown 25 percent a year for the past two years, said Melissa Hoover, executive director of the San Francisco-based group.

Berkeley scientists’ next green energy alternative: stomach bug to biofuel

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Aug 31 2010 - 10:43am

A team of local biotech researchers may have found a way to avoid using essential food crops for fuel by genetically modifying harmless strains of a bacteria most people associate with human food poisoning. The result is an extremely expensive fuel — hardly competitive with fossil fuels at $25 per gallon — but marks the beginning of a new look at green energy.

Green hip-hop group pruned by budget cuts

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Aug 20 2010 - 2:50pm

A local organization that promotes environmental consciousness through hip-hop culture is going on hiatus this fall after losing major funding from the city of San Francisco. Grind for the Grind hosted its first — and final — “eco-music festival” of the year in Oakland last weekend. The event, FreshFest, brought local hip-hop musicians, artists and sustainable food producers together for a day of solar-powered live jamming, healthy eats and green-themed crafts. After losing its San Francisco grant, the festival was free to move from Yerba Buena Gardens, where it had been for two years, to Oakland’s Mosswood Park. But there still wasn’t enough money to put on the usual four summer festivals.

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