San Francisco

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.

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?

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.

Artist Martha Villa makes up her city

Oct 28, 2014
Photo courtesy of San Francisco Zombie Prom.

From the outside, Martha Villa’s home blends in with the other modest buildings in her quiet Outer Richmond neighborhood.

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.


On October 22nd, the Second District PTA hosted a forum featuring eight candidates for three seats on San Francisco's Board of Education.

The forum was moderated by San Francisco Chronicle Education Reporter Jill Tucker, and was co-hosted by Parents for Public Schools of San Francisco, San Francisco Education Fund, Support For Families Of Children With Disabilities, and the San Francisco Parent Political Action Committee.

Ben Trefny

Visiting AT&T Park before the San Francisco Giants host a World Series game provides a fascinating juxtaposition of feelings. It's all about anticipation.


So you want to open a bookstore? Excellent news. Here's your guide to survival:

Allen Temple Arms, East Oakland


Mary Butler is a person who "likes to keep very busy and independent."

She worked as a respiratory nurse for most of her adult life. After retiring in the early 2000s, she supported herself the way retirees are meant to: with a small pension and social security. She moved to Las Vegas for a while to take care of an ill sibling. When she moved back to Oakland, she couldn’t find a place to rent. Her retirement funds didn’t stack up.

Under CC license from Flickr user Ken Lund.


Thuylynh Nguyen’s family came to the U.S. from Vietnam in order to escape political persecution. Her father had spent eight years as a prisoner of war after serving as a soldier in the South Vietnamese army. The U.S. granted her family asylum in 1991.


We don’t build housing projects like we used to anymore. It used to be big, labyrinthine complexes like Marcy Houses in New York, Cabrini Green in Chicago, and Geneva Towers in San Francisco. Today, conversations about development have to do with mixed-use, mixed-income communities.


'When we say “affordable housing” we're actually using a precisely defined concept. "Affordable", in this context, means housing that costs no more than 30 percent of a household’s income.

Tonny Villarreal

Note: This article contains language some readers may find offensive.

Usually, people who emerge from the 16th Street BART Station in San Francisco are greeted by men and women slumped over shopping carts, by panhandlers, and by the cacophony of traffic. But late on Thursday nights, BART passengers stride into the sounds of poetry. For over a decade, poets, musicians, and comedians have been meeting outside the station.

In  Marin County the  Mill Valley Film Fest  is underway. It opens Thursday October 2, and this week we're featuring some of the many local documentary makers in this year’s program.

Today, we explore the film FREE, which follows young dance students at Destiny Arts in Oakland as they navigate harsh realities like abuse, violence, suicide attempts, and absent parents, all while preparing for a big dance performance that compels them to express their innermost fears. Director Suzanne Lafetra came to the studio, to talk about the film. A note to our listeners, this interview contains a description rape.

Under CC license from Flickr user Taber Andrew Bain

It all started a couple of years ago, when a happy-go-lucky guy I swim with named Joe Omran showed up at Aquatic Park one day in a foul mood. Thirty years ago, he bought a small grocery and deli on the western edge of Nob Hill called Le Beau Market. Now he wanted to open a café nearby. Just a little one.

Isabel Angell

Part of getting older means you can’t get around like you used to. Maybe you can’t drive a car anymore, or hike up those big San Francisco hills to catch the bus.

A Nepali soup kitchen for the soul

Sep 22, 2014
Rachel Wong

Around 5pm on a cold, windy Tuesday, an eclectic mix of people stand in a long line at Civic Center’s UN Plaza in San Francisco, waiting patiently. Some have big travel backpacks, a couple have tough-looking dogs, and a few are dressed like they just came from work. Suddenly a bright orange and yellow minivan arrives at the plaza. A team of volunteers wearing orange aprons emerge and quickly set up tents, tables, and giant, metal vats of steaming food. The food smells of ginger and garlic.

Out In The Bay 9/18/14

Sep 18, 2014

Interview with Rick Shelton, aka Lola Montez.

Back in the early part of the 20th century, San Francisco’s North Beach was a Mecca of accordion building (and playing) in the United States. And the accordion is San Francisco’s official city instrument.

Vince Cirelli was an Italian American accordion repairman in his 90s, and Skyler Fell, a woman in her early 30s, worked as his apprentice. Tattooed, pierced, and part of the “steam punk,” DIY, Burning Man scenes, Fell now owns her own accordion repair shop in San Francisco, where she says an “Accordion Revolution” is happening among people of all ages.

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. 

Ben Trefny


In the late 1990s and early 2000s, San Francisco passed a variety of measures to help low wage workers try to keep up with the rising cost of living. The city now has the highest minimum wage in the country at 10 dollars 74 cents an hour. It also requires employers to either provide health benefits or pay into a pool so the city can cover their health care costs.

SF Public Press

San Francisco's housing crisis has been making headlines for a while now. It’s hard to avoid the numerous news reports on skyrocketing rent prices, controversial evictions, or horror stories of terrible housing situations. But, there’s been far less coverage of what actual solutions there might be for these issues.

David Zlutnick

Activists gathered in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, last month, to call attention to part of the city’s housing crisis. They got together around a three-unit apartment building where flats are rented out to vacationers through an online broker. The protesters plastered the building with green stickers that said the tourist rentals there are illegal.

A Gay History: "For My Brothers"

Aug 20, 2014

The wild and crazy times of gay male life in San Francisco during the 70's and 80's are told in this memoir from someone who lived through them, miraculously. Marilyn talks with author Mark Abramson about his book, "For My Brothers." Thursday, August 21st, 2014. 7:00pm Pacific. 


In the garage of a house in San Francisco’s Excelsior district, rehearsal is underway. In the space where a car would normally go is a stage set: a table and chairs, a desk, a beat-up blue couch, and an old-fashioned pay phone hanging from a wall. 

Lisa Carmack

Tuesday night was the 31st year of National Night Out, an event that aims to help prevent crime by encouraging people get to know their neighbors and strengthen their communities. We sent reporters out to National Night Out gatherings all over the Bay Area to see what was going on.

Rhian Miller

I’m sitting at a table with Walter Kresnik and Quintin Rodriguez. They’re bent over big sheets of paper with pencils and markers and paint, drawing hearts.

The Book Report is a new series where we talk to local authors about the books they love. Writer Anisse Gross shared her pick - The Abortion - by Richard Brautigan, with Ninna Gaensler-Debs.




On the July 24th, 2014 edition of Your Call, we'll talk about a recent report that found that 76 percent of public grant money in San Francisco goes towards arts programs with primarily white audiences, even as people of color make up over half of the city's population. What’s the right way to decide who gets public money for the arts? Do the criteria need to change to ensure that the broadest public is served? It's Your Call, with Hana Baba, and you.


Eighteen-year-old Tatyana Martinez turned to writing poetry as a young girl to cope with big changes in her life. Over time, her poetry evolved into music. She now works for the youth run recording studio Upstar Records, inside San Francisco’s Sunset Youth Services. The youth center supports young people and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training at Upstar. When she’s not helping young musicians make music, Martinez writes and records her own songs with the goal of putting out her own album. She shares the story behind her songs in this installment of Bay Area Beats.