Election Money Pours in for San Francisco Judges’ Seats That Used to Go Uncontested

In California, the governor appoints superior court judges to fill seats across 58 counties. Terms are typically six years, and judges keep their positions unless they’re recalled, which happens rarely, or someone decides to run against them in a local election. Usually, judges don’t face challengers.

But a pair of San Francisco judges are running to stay on the bench in the upcoming March 5 election. The last time sitting judges faced such challenges here was in the June 2018 primary election, and the challengers lost.

Voters might be wondering why they’re being asked to make this decision.

A metal ballot box covered with colorful decals featuring election information is located on a sidewalk in front of a green lawn with the tall columns of San Francisco's City Hall in the background.

What You Might Find on Your San Francisco Ballot: Party County Central Committees

If you vote in California and you’re registered with the Peace and Freedom, Green, Republican or Democratic parties, you’ll get to make some extra choices in the March 5 election that only come around once every four years — the representatives who run your party at the local level. 

In San Francisco, voters registered with those four parties received ballots that included candidates for their party’s presidential primary and also candidates for their respective county central committee, which the Green Party refers to as its county council. These are the people who officially run those parties in San Francisco. They decide which measures and candidates the party will endorse, and they support the formation of local political clubs. They also coordinate in various ways with their parties at the state and national levels.

For this “Civic” episode, we talked with representatives from the four parties that run county committees in San Francisco, and with Theo Ellington, vice president of Northern California for Strategies 360, a political strategy firm, to give a more general overview of the system.

Proposition A — Affordable Housing Bonds

Proposition A would allow San Francisco to borrow up to $300 million by issuing general obligation bonds. The city would use up to $240 million to build, buy or rehabilitate rental housing, including senior housing and workforce housing for low-income households.

Zhe Wu profile photo

San Francisco Public Press Selected to Host California Local News Fellow

We’re delighted to announce that we are adding a full-time reporter to our staff through the California Local News Fellowship program, a multi-year, state-funded initiative to support and strengthen local news reporting in California, with a focus on underserved communities. 

Zhe Wu, a 2023 graduate of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, will join the San Francisco Public Press in early September. We look forward to introducing her to you!

Ricardo Sandoval-Palos is the public editor at PBS.

PBS Public Editor Says Complaints Can Spark Community Conversations

With the proliferation of social media channels, misinformation and disinformation now spread as fast as the click of a trackpad. Even for a trusted outlet like PBS — nationally recognized for its family friendly programming and sober, nonpartisan news coverage — this era has brought a flood of digital rumors to quell.

As the public editor at PBS, Ricardo Sandoval-Palos fields complaints for the organization and uses community feedback to cultivate conversations between viewers and PBS’s creative teams.

During the early days of the pandemic, San Francisco residents displayed signs expressing gratitude for essential workers and posted personal notes of appreciation on a tree near the corner of Vallejo and Gough streets.

How This Pandemic Year Has Changed Us

A year ago, it seemed all of San Francisco was making one last trip to the store, as if preparing for a hurricane or blizzard. At the San Francisco Public Press, we had started transitioning to remote work two weeks prior. We had no idea then how challenging the coming year would be for us professionally and personally, and for the whole world.

This is the logo for “Voices of the Community,” which airs on KSFP 102.5 FM in San Francisco on Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. and 6:30 pm. It also streams on ksfp.fm at those times and Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Nonprofit Sector Expected to Shrink Due to Pandemic

George Koster, host of the podcast and radio show “Voices of the Community,” returned to “Civic” to talk about new research on how the nonprofit sector is faring during the pandemic and share stories from nonprofit leaders he has interviewed about how they’re handling current economic challenges. Nationwide, nonprofit organizations represent the third largest job sector, with 1.3 million nonprofits employing more than 13 million people. According to recent research by Candid — an organization that conducts research about and manages databases and other tools for nonprofits and the philanthropic sector — based on a several scenarios, some 34,000 nonprofit organizations are likely to close due to the pandemic, with a worst-case scenario projecting nearly 120,000 closures across the U.S. Koster spoke with representatives from Candid about their research. “In California, the median is around 1,525, nonprofits that would go out,” Koster said. “And then in their worst-case scenario, around 42,013, nonprofits would go out — would just literally go away.”

Koster looked into research on local nonprofit arts organizations.