Liz Pfeffer

 

LGBTQ rights made huge strides recently with the supreme court’s historic decision on same-sex marriage. But an ongoing situation in San Francisco’s Mission District shows that there’s still pushback, even in the most liberal of cities.

The Black Sheep

Jun 23, 2015

 

The next time you're in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, if you look carefully you’ll see a symbol of this support: a black cross drawn in marker. It’s the coat of arms for the Black Sheep, the area’s unofficial homeless first aid squad.

 

March 29 was the last night Delilah Soto slept on the street. She’s a recovering heroin addict who’s been living in a tent in San Francisco’s Mission District with her girlfriend, Rocky Anderson, and their dog Sparta. That night, she learned they had another choice.

Nearby, 1950 Mission St. was dead space. A closed-down school site sitting on premium San Francisco real estate, begging to be repurposed. On March 30, the gates opened on a new pilot program called the “Navigation Center”.

There are at least 7,000 homeless people in San Francisco each night, and only enough shelter space to house a small fraction of them. This is one of the reasons San Francisco recently held the first Town Hall to End Homelessness in which city officials and community leaders renewed their commitment to do just that.

But if you’re going to talk ways to end homelessness in San Francisco, why not start by talking to the people with the most experience?

https://www.flickr.com/photos/matt_hintsa/

Twice a week, the Heart of the City Farmers Market transforms San Francisco’s gritty United Nations Plaza with dozens of white canopies and truckloads of fresh produce. But on a recent sunny winter Wednesday, the abundance of sweet-smelling fruits and vegetables are contrasted by a gloomy point.

It didn’t rain once here last January. Not in this spot, nor in all of San Francisco.

Liz Pfeffer

These days, our technology is getting smarter. We don’t just talk on the phone anymore, we talk to them. Siri is already a household name and our homes are getting smarter, too. There are thermostats that you can control from your cell phone. And smoke detectors that will text you if there’s a fire. San Franciscan Tom Coates has taken this technology one step further. He’s designed his home to track its vitals and tweet them out to the world, all triggered by a network of wi-fi enabled sensors.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/

 

Alyssa Arian has worked in San Francisco restaurants for a decade and, like most servers, she got into it for the tips.

“Some nights you leave with $80 or $90,” she says. “$100 is kind of the average mark for what you want as a server, sort of anywhere in this city I think as a minimum.”

Since February, though, Arian hasn’t earned any tips. She’s working at Sous Beurre Kitchen, a new French spot in the Mission where tipping’s not allowed.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/fimoculous/

Soda is so tasty, but so not good for you. One can of coke has about 10 teaspoons of sugar, and too much sugar leads to obesity, diabetes and a host of other health problems.

Widespread diabetes compelled Mexico to pass a national tax on sugary soft drinks last year, but in the U.S. it has yet to happen. That may change tomorrow, if Berkeley or San Francisco passes respective measures that would levy taxes on distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/81016120@N05/

San Francisco paints itself as a green city, a city of walkers and bicyclists, a transportation friendly city. But some say San Francisco has taken its pro-pedestrian stance too far.

A group called the Restore Transportation Balance Coalition wants to take back the roads. That’s the goal of Proposition L, a declaration of policy to make the city’s parking meters, garages and traffic laws more car-friendly. But at what cost?

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Real estate markets run in cycles, and right now our regional market is soaring. While the national median price for a home is just over $200,000, the median price paid for a home in the nine-county Bay Area last month was just about $600,000.

Under CC license from Flickr user Jon Starbuck.

KALW’s Liz Pfeffer speaks with Hana Baba about housing-related measures on the upcoming San Francisco ballot, including Propositions K and G.


San Franciscans love to garden, but a backyard is hard to come by if you live in an apartment. And the 36 city-operated community gardens have wait lists with hundreds of names on them.

That’s why the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department had to get creative on the Golden Gate Park Community Garden. 

Liz Pfeffer

Tony Spitaleri remembers the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut vividly. He was across the country, at home in Sunnyvale where he was mayor.

San Francisco’s real estate prices, rents and eviction rates are at an all-time high, causing real tension between tenants and landlords.  Frequently we hear from renters about the struggles of living in the city, but it’s not often that we hear from the owners of their buildings.

In San Francisco, about one third of the population are property owners. Those who are small-time landlords are struggling to maintain solvency in this explosive housing market.

Liz Pfeffer

A few hours north of San Francisco is the town of Boonville, nestled in the quaint Anderson Valley of Mendocino County. Like Silicon Valley, this place is known for its innovations in communication – but in a completely different way.

Liz Pfeffer


California has the largest concentration of homeless veterans in the nation, and in San Francisco, it’s likely that more than 700 homeless vets will sleep on the street or in shelters this Veterans Day. 

According to Bevan Dufty, director of San Francisco’s Housing, Opportunity, Partnerships and Engagement (HOPE) program, housing homeless veterans is a high priority for the city. And the number of homeless veterans has decreased since last year, thanks in part to the opening of a permanent supportive housing facility called Veterans Commons.

Liz Pfeffer

Once blighted and clogged with cars, the Embarcadero is now a promenade of upscale restaurants, farmers markets, and a walkable Bay Trail. As development all over San Francisco barrels forward, residents are being asked to decide what they envision for the future of the city’s frontage.

Tomorrow, San Francisco voters will cast ballots for or against a controversial luxury condo development across from Pier 3. The long-disputed 8 Washington project would bring multimillion-dollar housing to a 3.2-acre lot on the city’s waterfront.

Liz Pfeffer

Courtesy of Farhad Manjoo

Writer Farhad Manjoo skewers modern American dog culture in a Slate column titled “No, I Do Not Want to Pet Your Dog.” Manjoo sat down with KALW’s Liz Pfeffer to expand on his views about irresponsible dog ownership and the overabundance of canine companions in restaurants, coffee shops and even the gym. 

The Bay Area is known for inspiring all kinds of great music, especially in the 60s and 70s when groups like Creedence Clearwater and the Grateful Dead called it home. In little Sausalito there was a destination that drew recording artists from all over the world.

Courtesy of San Francisco Zoo

For every famous name in animal science — Jane Goodall, Ivan Pavlov, Charles Darwin — there are easily 100 scientists you’ve never heard of, including Gail Hedberg, a retiring senior veterinary technician at San Francisco Zoo. Ninety percent of her job entails working in the zoo’s hospital, but the other ten percent is pretty different. Hedberg wrote the book on hand-rearing baby exotic animals.