San Francisco

Julie Blaumstein

As the city of San Francisco experiences new waves of growth and expansion, we travel back to another time before redevelopment reshaped the Fillmore District. 

In the 40’s and 50’s the Fillmore was a vibrant mix of cultures, and a national hotspot for jazz musicians. On any given night you could hear the voice of Billie Holiday, or the playing of Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Dizzy Gillespie. The lively and diverse neighborhood quickly earned a nickname: The Harlem of the West.   

San Francisco's Hunters Point Shipyard has played many roles. In the 1940s, it became a magnet for African Americans migrating from the South seeking jobs in the Navy's shipbuilding and maintenance industry. In the 1970s, when the military started to leave, it became an empty shell – a massive, polluted space eventually designated a Superfund site. Now, it's being redeveloped with the promise of new housing, jobs and open space. But in today's San Francisco, who is it for?

Behavioral health courts can give offenders who are mentally ill the option to be tried for non-felony crimes. Within the program, offenders can have access to not only the district attorney and public defender, but to several social services programs in order to help them get them back on their feet. 

One catch — they have to want to be in the program. 

San Francisco  spends about $165 million each year on homeless services, according to a report requested by city Supervisor Mark Farrell. In an attempt to understand the cost effectiveness of those programs, Supervisor Farrell organized a series of eight hearings this spring, focused on homeless services in San Francisco. Farrell sat down with KALW's Ben Trefny to talk about what came out of those hearings.


Don Meehan

You recognize this music – it’s our national anthem, performed by The Golden Gate Park Band, San Francisco’s municipal band. They stage free concerts throughout most of the year at the Spreckles Temple of Music in – where else? – Golden Gate Park.

The Golden Gate Park Band’s next performance is Sunday, May 25th, starting at 1:00pm.

Today’s local music is being played by the Jimmy Grant Ensemble. Grant, a native of northern California, grew up in a family of musicians. And that’s where he learned the music of jazz pioneer Django Reinhart.

The Jimmy Grant Ensemble will be playing Reinhart-style jazz guitar on Friday, May 23rd at The Red Poppy Art House in San Francisco. Expect them to start about 7:30pm.

Photo by Jeremy Dalmas

It can be hard to donate your old things to a thrift store, but the idea is that your stuff will get a second life. Once it is donated, it will make its way to new owners. But what does it take to get those things ready to be used again?

At 26th and Valencia in San Francisco is a nondescript three-story warehouse that used to be an old shoe factory. Now it is where the endless Salvation Army donations are sorted, and it is like a little city inside.

The Unloading Dock

Sunset Youth Services is an organization that supports transitional age youth and their families with things like parenting classes, food assistance, and job training. And it's home to the youth-run recording studio, Upstar Records, where young people learn audio production skills. That's where you’ll usually find 16-year-old Adriel Diaz. 

David Boyer

I was looking for a place just ahead of the tide of development in San Francisco. I found it at Third Street and Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview District. It's an intersection with one foot in the past and one in the future. On one side there’s a combination KFC/Taco Bell and an old Baptist church. On the other, there’s the new All Good Pizza and a non-profit co-founded by Steve Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. In The Intersection, I go corner by corner—and hear about life in the middle of a transition.

 

San Francisco is home to more than 5 thousand people of Arab descent. And despite living in what is perceived as one of the most culturally competent, tolerant areas in the country, since 9-11, Arab students have been complaining of abuse, taunting, and discrimination.

The Arab Cultural and Community Center of San Francisco has developed a toolkit and curriculum to help teachers better understand their Arab students’ backgrounds, and, give them the tools to address difficult issues they deal with.

Pete Villaseñor moved to San Francisco from his home state of Texas almost 20 years ago. That’s well before the Bay’s current housing troubles began. But, moving to a new place can come with other difficulties, like homesickness. Villaseñor told our community storytelling project Hear Here how he found solace in a new city.

Bay Area Beats: Meet San Francisco's Mystic Blaze

Apr 30, 2014

TraVaughn Hicks has been making music since he was a young boy and his rapper uncle would record him singing on his songs.

Radio Poets: Ruth Velasquez

Apr 30, 2014

Ruth Velasquez is a student at San Francisco's Cleveland Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

“Who am I?” 

Cleveland Elementary School

By Ruth Velasquez 

 

 

I am a girl that’s special to one and the others.

I am a girl who says

OK

I will try again

I am a human who says

Just stop

I am a human who says

Please don't hurt me

With rental housing being such a contentious topic in San Francisco, we thought it could be helpful to talk with the person who might know more about rent laws than anybody else in the city, the Executive Director of the San Francisco Rent Board.

Radio Poets: Marlon Barreno

Apr 29, 2014

Marlon Barreno  is a student at San Francisco's Junipero Serra Elementary School, where he writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring his voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

“Missing My Dad”

Marlon Barreno

J. Sierra Elementary School

 

I remember the dad that I had—

I remember going over his house

And sleeping with him limb to limb

I remember playing soccer with him

Trying a lot, giving him everything I got.

Natasha Mahia, a student at El Dorado elementary school in Visitacion Valley, is one of ROCK’s biggest fans. ROCK stands for Real Options for City Kids, an after-school and mentoring program for youth in Visitacion Valley.

Radio Poets: Bridgette Marin

Apr 28, 2014

Bridgette Marin is a student at San Francisco's E. R. Taylor Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

Me

Today I feel like a balloon going free

That when I’m blind, I can actually see

I’m a diamond so shiny, so bright

That I’m like the sun showing all the light. 

 

Today I’m a free land

So free, that I’m a new brand

I feel like a bank with money

MaydanSF

It’s been three months since violent clashes erupted in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev. At the heart of the conflict is the Ukrainian government’s decision to abandon their EU Association Agreement. A move seen by some Ukrainian nationalists as a move to strengthen the country’s ties with former ruling power, Russia. 

Hear Here: Life lessons from Rutka Messinger

Apr 24, 2014

Rutka Messinger is a retired high school literature teacher living in San Francisco’s Richmond District. But, she wasn’t born here. She was actually born in a concentration camp in Siberia at the tail end of World War II. Both her parents survived the Holocaust. Soon after Messinger was born they fled the camp and began what she calls a long and complicated story. Her family ended up in Israel, where she lived until moving to the United States.

Here, Messinger says she sees beauty all around her – especially in her neighborhood. And she says if you look for good things, you’ll see them, too.

Andrei Dorofeev / "Arguments and Facts - America"

 

As the conflict rages on between Russia and Ukrainian nationalists, thousands of miles away in San Francisco, people are following closely. There are an estimated 3,800 Ukrainians here. But the city is also home to more than 17,000 people who identify as Russian. So, what do they think about what’s going on back home?

Radio Poets: Gennesis Galindo

Apr 24, 2014

Gennesis Galindo is a student at San Francisco's Hillcrest Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

“My Origin”

 

By: Gennesis Galindo

Hillcrest Elementary School

 

My name comes from

the beginning of the Bible.

 

My name comes from my Mom who named me

because she loves the way it sounds like an angel’s whisper.

 

My middle name Natasha comes from my Dad, 

Radio Poets: Sianna Martinez

Apr 23, 2014

Sianna Martinez is a student at San Francisco's Junipero Serra Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

I Used to Be

Sianna Martinez

J.Sierra Elementary School

 

I used to be a shark but now I’m a piranha

I used to be a small town but now I am a big country

I used to be clouds but now I am the sun

I used to be a fall leaf but now I am a blooming flower

Under CC license from Flickr user TedsBlog

There’s a plan circulating in San Francisco to make using crack cocaine safer: give away free crack pipes. It might sound farfetched, but it’s supported by science.

Sutro Baths, Wells Fargo, Stern Grove… What these San Francisco icons have in common is they were all founded or developed by Jews.  Jewish people have been living in San Francisco since the beginning of this great city, and that’s the topic of a new documentary called American Jerusalem.

Radio Poets: Oscar Martinez

Apr 22, 2014

 Oscar Martinez is a student at San Francisco's E.R.Taylor Elementary School, where he writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring his voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

My Mom

I love my mom

Because she will always love me

On and on

I will always love her

Till she’s gone!

 

I love my mom because 

Even though she doesn’t buy

Me the things I want 

That’s okay!! 

Only thing I want from her 

Is to stay

 

Radio Poets: Anjole Leveron

Apr 21, 2014

Anjole Leveron is a student at San Francisco's Junipero Serra School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

“In My Heart”

Anjole Leveron

J.Sierra Elementary School

 

In my heart is fulled with a lot

from my family and friends to all the things I love to do

In my heart is art

I love to color and draw

in my heart is dance

the way I move my body makes me glad

in my heart is cooking

Radio Poets: Justin Rubio

Apr 16, 2014

I Found a Rock

By Justin Rubio

E.R. Taylor

5th Grade

 

I found a rock it was pretty heavy so

When I picked it up I fell on my 

Knee it hurt but I didn’t care

 Did I mention it was gold and shiny

 

I found Simon he had a 

Diamond it was as big as a bike

He gave it to me for that shiny rock

 

I found a found but there

Were arms holding it, I inserted

 the diamond and it gave me the fossil.

 

I went into the pueblo

And traded it for a treasure chest.

Radio Poets: Stella Mae Schmidt

Apr 16, 2014

I used to be . . .

By Stella-Mae Schmidt

Tenderloin Community School

 

I used to be a piece of dirt, and now I am a flower 

filled with beauty everyday and with love every hour

 

I used to used to be a stranded branch but now I am a tree 

but instead of looking down I smile with glee

 

I used to be a basketball but now I am a player

I can do a slam-dunk jumping up in the air

 

I used to be asleep but now I am wake

And see everything, the real from the fake

 

 

Radio Poets: Angelika De Castro

Apr 15, 2014

Angelika De Castro is a student at San Francisco's Tenderloin Elementary School, where she writes poetry and plays soccer as part of the AmericaSCORES program.  KALW is proud to bring her voice to the air during National Poetry Month.

"The Elements"
By Angelika De Castro

--Dedicated to the Philippines--

Fire

Red, orange, yellow the color of the flame.
Red, orange, yellow easy to blame.
Hot not cold, smoky and bold
Fire is hot, it can burn gold

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