Lisa Ratner

Lisa Ratner is a volunteer reporter for KALW's Crosscurrents. Her favorite topics to cover are Public Transportation, Food Politics, Gender Politics, and Film.

She is a freelance Jill-of-all-media-trades including photography, video production, web design, and marketing for small businesses and non-profits. You can view her portfolio here.

 

Ways To Connect

Lisa Ratner

Our Hear Here community storytelling project has been asking Oakland and San Francisco residents to tell them a story about a meaningful place in their neighborhood. Meanwhile, the KALW news team has set out on a similar mission, and visited iconic places all over the Bay Area to talk to the people who visit them. KALW’s Lisa Ratner brought back this story from Treasure Island.

(LA Times) // High-Speed Rail construction is facing challenges over its environmental impact on both air quality and endangered species. Concerns include the problematic air quality in the San Joaquin Valley where about 1 out of 7 children have been diagnosed with asthma, and federal biologists say 11 endangered species will be impacted.

Phyllis Lyon was the founder of the first lesbian rights organization in the United States, Daughters of Bilitis, in 1955. You may recall her name, as she and her wife Dell Martin were the first same sex couple to be married under the authority of Gavin Newsom when he became mayor in 2004. Phyllis recounts her life experiences such as connecting with Dell Martin, navigating anti-gay laws in San Francisco in the 1950's, her book Lesbian/woman, and shifting her perspective on marriage at the StoryCorps booth in San Francisco, where she spoke with Margee Adams.

 

Los Angeles Times // In order to retain federal funds, California’s High Speed Rail project would have to spend $3.5 million daily to meet the 2017 deadline for finished construction of track in the Central Valley. If approved, the project would have the fastest rate of transportation construction known in U.S. history.

Silicon Valley technology companies Oracle and Google will face off in a legal showdown on Monday. Oracle charges that Google’s Android mobile phone technology infringes on its patents...

About 16 years ago, San Francisco native Allan Manalo visited Manila, the capital of the Philippines, in an effort to reconnect with his heritage. There he met his wife, Joyce D. Juan-Manalo and recognized that even though they grew up with an ocean between them, they were strikingly similar in many ways. Here they recall the sparks that connected them in the beginning.

This interview was facilitated by Frank Kingman of San Francisco Storycorps.

Facebook has acquired the photo sharing service Instagram for $1 billion. Instagram is a two-year-old, 13-employee, San Francisco start-up company. They make a photo-sharing application in which one can add a variety of filters effects and share easily...

$1.5 billion of California’s High Speed Rail money has been guaranteed to Caltrain’s rail electrification project. It means progress for building a 1.2 mile tunnel from San Francisco’s Caltrain station to the new downtown Transbay Terminal. San Francisco transportation officials are now requesting $1 billion in federal grants for the Bart extension project to San Jose...

The Federal Transit Administration has committed $900 million to the Bart Silicon Valley project. This extends the existing Bart system 16 miles south to San Jose. Construction can begin, and if all goes as planned, the extension could be running four years from now...

Thousands of protesters have marched to California’s State Capitol, today, to protest college tuition hikes. Demands range from supporting Governor Jerry Brown’s sales and income tax increase to Occupy’s Millionaire Tax and ReFund California plan...

In another approach to addressing education budget cuts, Bay Area School Districts are weighing the pros and cons of investing in iPads...

Lisa Ratner

It’s Hattam Moktor’s second day in San Francisco. He arrived from Egypt yesterday and spent today seeing the sights in the city. Now he’s standing in front of an empty station agent’s booth at the Embarcadero BART station trying to get back to his brother’s East Bay apartment.

“I want to ask someone how to get there, so I came here, but there is no one to ask. So I found you! So I will ask you how to get there. Walnut Creek?” Moktor laughs.

Moktor pulls a crumpled BART map out of his back pocket, and we look at it together. What he needs is a Pittsburg-Bay Point train.

PG&E insists that its current rates are reasonable despite the fact that the price of natural gas has dropped. Consumer advocates point out that PG&E should pass its savings onto customers and not use it for other sectors of the company budget...

Caltrain is making progress in rail electrification, with the transition expected to occur 5-10 years sooner than anticipated. Electrification would allow for a San Jose to San Francisco direct bullet and is a step forward for the Los Angeles to San Francisco high speed rail. Prop 1A would fund most of the project but would also require the Bay Area to match approximately $1 billion in funds...

Oakland officials calculate the cost on the city to manage the Occupy movement has been $3 million since it began in September. The city has spent an average of $50,000 per week on 100 police officers, mostly for the downtown demonstrations on Saturdays...

The City of Oakland is issuing hundreds of pink slips next week due to loss of redevelopment funds. After state cutbacks nearly eliminated the CITY’S redevelopment agency, pink slips will be sent to a range of City Hall employees, though police officers are not included in the cost-cutting measure...

Home mortgage insurer, PMI, is also issuing pink slips, cutting 155 jobs at its head offices in Walnut Creek...

California's Representatives and Senators return to Sacramento today after a three-month recess, and will be greeted by a budget deficit of $12 billion. That and the high-speed rail project, public employee pensions, water issues, and a dozen new bills and proposals that stalled last year...