A Legacy of Criminalizing Transience and Homelessness

In the mid-19th century, California lawmakers enacted the state’s first anti-vagrancy measrues to rid city streets of people who were homeless or indigent. This timeline highlights some key years, laws and policies in  San Francisco. CALIFORNIA 1850 “An Act for the Government and Protection of Indians” targets Native Americans in California.  Read more

As Shelter Wait Times Soar, Older Homeless in Limbo Daily

A 97-year-old, 3 people in their 80s waited weeks for beds For thousands of San Francisco homeless people, the city’s emergency shelter wait list has provided a temporary reprieve from living on the streets. But the wait time for a bed has hit a record high, as growing demand outstrips availability, city records show.  Read more

After Exporting Raisins, Tech Pioneer Brought Campaign Finance Disclosures Online

Q&A with David Montgomery of NetFile, which tracks S.F. election contributions, spending and lobbyists Tens of thousands of pages of campaign finance documents, and not a searchable PDF in sight.  While election spending has been regulated in California since 1974 — thanks to Watergate — the information reported was not always easily searchable or accessible.  Read more

Study: Health, Economic Benefits Emerging From Mexico’s ‘Soda Tax’

A Mexican tax on sugary beverages has reduced consumption since 2014, and as a result is projected to help cut rates of diabetes, improve overall health and bring other indirect cost savings, according to a study published Tuesday. The findings come a week before San Francisco voters decide whether to impose a one-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages in a bid to reduce diabetes and obesity, particularly among children and minority communities.  Read more

What Nevius Gets Wrong About Tech and Politics

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Chuck “C.W.” Nevius is imploring tech companies “to get into politics, particularly grassroots politics in cities like Oakland and San Francisco.” “They’re famously disconnected from City Hall issues and politicians,” he writes (pay wall). “Millennial techies don’t vote.  Read more

What Don’t We Know About Campaign Finance?

We Found a $20 Million Error in a City Database. Two official city websites offer troves of campaign finance data for San Francisco elections: SF OpenData ( and the Ethics Commission ( But all that information is useful only if you know how to sort through it.  Read more

Big Money Already Pouring Into November Campaigns

Though San Franciscans will not vote for nearly three months, big money is already flowing into the fall campaign, like Karl the Fog swarming over Twin Peaks on a chilly summer day. Since January, local ballot measure and candidate campaigns have spent $3.15 million on the November election, according to San Francisco Ethics Commission records.  Read more