Holly Kernan

News Director

Holly Kernan is the architect of the award-winning Public Interest Reporting Project.  She is currently news director at KALW 91.7FM in San Francisco.  In 2009 she was named Journalist of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.  Kernan teaches journalism at Mills College and the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and has taught at Santa Rosa Junior College, Youth Radio and San Francisco State University's Lifelong Learning Institute.  She lives in Oakland with her husband, Mike, daughter, Julia, and retired greyhound Benjamin Franklin.

Ways To Connect

Under CC license from Flickr user North Dakota National Guard

More than 120,000 people in the United States are in line waiting for an organ transplant. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, another name is added to the list every ten minutes. While health professionals attempt to come to grips with the increasing demand for life-saving transplants, Nancy Scheper-Hughes has been investigating the dark consequences of this demand—the global black market in human organs—for more than two decades.

More than 80 percent of Americans live in cities and suburbs, but that does not mean they have to be cut off from nature -- according to author Tai Moses. Her new book, Zooburbia, is a call for people to live alongside their furry and winged friends. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with Moses about a new trend to grow urban gardens that sustain wildlife.

The Wall Street Journal

California was recently granted an extension to meet the federal government's mandate to reduce its prison population. That extension came with specific requirements, for example, the federal court ordered the state to incorporate more programs like San Francisco's Re-entry Pod to help prepare inmates for release. KALW's Holly Kernan sat down with San Francisco's Chief Adult Probation Officer Wendy Still to discuss some of the changes.

Nell Bernstein is the coordinator of the San Francisco Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership and  the author of Burning Down the House: The end of Juvenile Prison. 

AAUW website

Education has always played a key role in social change, but it hasn’t always been equally available to both men and women. In the late 1800’s less than 1% of women between the ages of 18 to 24 were in college. College-educated women knew they were privileged, and decided to use that power to work for social justice. They created what became known as the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The San Francisco chapter is the oldest branch in California, and the third oldest in the country.

San Francisco is the only city in California where the voters choose their public defender. Since 2002,  the city has elected Jeff Adachi. He comes from a long line of public defenders who have been fighting to give equal representation to those caught up in the criminal justice system. Every year his office takes on more than twenty five thousand clients who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford a lawyer.

“San Francisco is the most progressive, pro union, lefty - and I'd probably be the poster boy for that in many ways.”

PHOTO BY CARLOS AVILA / SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE / SFGATE.COM

Brian Copeland has a weekly  radio show on KGO. Today he is a radio personality, actor, comedian, writer, and performer, but like many of us, he says he got to where he is today thanks to a series of coincidences.

Copeland tells the story of his life in an acclaimed show called “Not a Genuine Black Man.”

Steve Rhodes/SF Public Press

On any given night in the U.S. there are more than 600,000 people who are homeless.  In San Francisco, the government estimates there are about 6,400 people living on the street or in shelters.  The numbers have increased only slightly over the past few years, but with the lack of housing in the city, many are wondering what the county is doing to help. Bevan Dufty,  works with the mayor's office as  the Director of Housing Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement  or HOPE.

Isabel Allende is one of Latin America's most beloved writers -- and she happens to call the Bay Area her home. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, the author has lived in Marin County for 26 years now. During that time, Allende has produced an incredible amount of work -- since her bestselling novel The House of Spirits was published in 1982, she's written 19 more books, which have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide.

Since Jerry Brown became governor, a record number of inmates, including “lifers,” those sentenced to life behind bars, have been released from California prison. Lifers receive one of two kinds of life sentences: with or without the possibility of parole. Those sentenced with the possibility of parole are expected to use the decades spent in prison to reform themselves. They then have to go before a parole board to prove that they’re rehabilitated.

But since 1988, California’s governors have had the option to veto a parole board decision, and they’ve done so in the majority of cases, until recently.


 The changing face of San Francisco is a source of controversy for many locals. In his latest one-man show, "Feisty Old Jew," local performer Charlie Varon demonstrates how the issue can be a solid source of comedy too. 

http://sfcitizen.com/

 

The University of California system saw a major change in administration earlier this summer when Janet Napolitano was appointed president. When she takes office in September, the former Homeland Security Secretary will be the first woman to hold the presidential position.

UC Berkeley’s administration also experienced a change this past June when Nicholas Dirks was sworn in as the university’s chancellor, the faculty’s highest ranking position. One of Dirks’ primary obligations in his new role is to find new funding for the university. The numbers are stark. Ten years ago, a semester for a resident undergraduate cost less than $3,000 and about a third of the school’s funding came from the state. This semester, the state provides only about 11 percent of the funding and tuition is two and a half times higher. 

Today is day 24 of the prison hunger strike in California. It started off with thousands of prisoners refusing meals, protesting the conditions in the Security Housing Unit, or what’s also been called solitary confinement. The number of strikers has now come down to several hundred, and last week one of them, inmate Billy Sell, died in the SHU at Corcoran State Prison. He had been there for 24 years. The CDCR has issued a statement that his death a suicide, but mediators are calling for an independent investigation to see if he had received proper care during his hunger strike.

Under CC license from Flickr user CoCo ACCE

The City of Richmond was hit hard when the housing bubble burst – about 12,000 homeowners there are underwater. That’s roughly half of all mortgage holders in the city.  Richmond’s City Council recently approved a radical new plan to use eminent domain to buy underwater mortgages and resell them to beleaguered homeowners at lower prices. Richmond mayor Gayle McLaughlin spoke with KALW's Holly Kernan about her city’s radical plan to help homeowners drowning in debt.

Image courtesy of www.fiinet.org/

In 1999, Jerry Brown called Maurice Lim Miller at home. Brown was mayor of Oakland at the time, and Miller was on the board of an organization applying for more than $10 million dollars for youth programs. 

“And most mayors you’d think would be really happy that we’re bringing that kind of money into the city,” says Miller.

But Brown wasn’t happy – he was upset. And after looking more closely at the proposal, Miller understood why.

Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has seen its share of upheaval over the past decade. In 2003, the state took control of OUSD after a series of financial missteps. In 2009, local control was returned to the district – with the understanding that it would pay back nearly $90 million in debt to the state. That was two days before Tony Smith took office as superintendent.

 

Schools and districts around the country are looking for ways to improve learning and safety for their students. And author David Kirp’s new book, Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System, tackles just that topic. He says we have to start with the way we think about education reform – and that means reforming the way we talk about it. He spoke about this with KALW’s Holly Kernan.

1:1 Fund

Carl Rist is behind a local effort called 1:1 Fund. It combines social networking and crowd funding techniques to help low-income students save for college. The 1:1 fund is a project of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, or CFED, and Rist is executive director of the project. He spoke with KALW’s Holly Kernan.

 

StoryCorps is a national project that records of conversations between loved ones. Parents and their children, siblings, spouses and friends sit in a sound studio booth and record and interview with each other. StoryCorps is the brainchild of Dave Isay, an award winning documentary producer, and author of the book, Mom. Since he has inspired others to interview each other, we thought it would be nice to interview him. Isay sat down with KALW's Holly Kernan.

The question of who should or should not be on any given street in Oakland came to a head recently at the city’s monthly First Friday Art Murmur event. In the past few years, First Friday has grown from a small art walk to a street party that attracts more than 20,000 people.  And increasingly, they’re people who represent very different Oaklands: the one that the New York Times named one of the world’s top five cities to visit, and the one where 30 people have been murdered so far this year.

www.cironline.org

Aaron Glantz is a reporter with the Center for Investigative Reporting and author of the book, The War Comes Home. He talked with KALW about what makes the transition to civilian life so hard.

http://www.sfdistrictattorney.org/

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón has had a rapid rise in San Francisco politics. Gascón came into the city as Chief of Police, appointed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in August, 2009. After less than a year and a half, he was sworn in as the city’s first Latino D.A., replacing Kamala Harris. In 2011, voters elected him to the position.

Imagine having nowhere to sleep, now, imagine that reality if you’re older, and maybe you suffer from illness or decreased mobility.

sfappeal

 

Sheriff Mirkarimi had many supporters when he was facing losing his job, but there were also many vocal opponents to his reinstatement. In fact, the majority of San Franciscans polled did not want Mirkarimi as Sheriff after his conviction. “Citizens for an Accountable Sheriff” was created calling for his resignation – and many women’s rights activists spoke out against Mirkarimi’s reinstatement during the ethics committee hearing when they were considering his case. Among them was Kathy Black, executive director of La Casa de las Madres, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence.

Irina Slutsky's Flickr Photostream

Figuring out one’s identity can be a life-altering process. Mills College student Skylar Crownover sent us this commentary about how the way people perceive gender affects a very basic part of their day.

Oakland has become a sort of test kitchen for charter schools. One of the first in the state opened in Oakland in 1993 – and in the past decade or so, the district has gone from having three charters to 33 today. But there are challenges in welcoming charter schools to the city, and it has been a contentious issue in Oakland.

Ingrid Seyer-Ochi, director of the Center for Urban Schools and Partnerships at Mills College, says the controversy is often fueled by misconceptions, like that charter schools are private. Seyer-Ochi spoke with KALW’s Holly Kernan.

Nathanael Johnson grew up in the kind of house where kids ate lots of kale and brown rice, played outside in the woods, and sang together before dinner. His parents tried to raise their kids the “natural” way, and for a long time, he thought that was the best.

Last night, Bishop Robert Jackson spoke at the Oakland City Council meeting. He and other Oakland ministers came together to demand more aggressive action from Mayor Jean Quan in response to a recent spike in violence. They asked her to call for a state of emergency. KALW’s Holly Kernan spoke with the Bishop to ask him what that would mean for the city.

The Unity Council has deep roots in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood. Founded in 1964, the center has expanded into a national model for community development, spearheading the creation of the Fruitvale Transit Village and growing to work with about 12,000 low- to moderate-income clients per year.

KALW’s Holly Kernan asked Gilda Gonzalez, CEO of the Unity Council, to talk about the organization’s history.

Pages