Tere Almaguer, an environmental justice organizer with PODER, talked with “Civic” about how the group has adapted to years of inconsistent rainfall. Almaguer said California’s exceptional drought conditions have already had visible effects on the farm, like flowering plants that grew shorter and bloomed later this year than previously. Hummingbird Farm will also be experimenting with an alternative water source: Drawing water from the air.
With vaccination rates on the rise and lockdown restrictions lifting, audiences are returning to indoor venues. For community cinemas like the Roxie Theater, reopening is emotional. The Roxie’s executive director Lex Sloan told “Civic” that limited seating for recent screenings sold out quickly, filling her with hope that cinephiles are eager to return in person.
Ridership on BART is slowly returning at about 20% of pre-pandemic levels. Starting next week the transit agency will begin adding trains with a return to a near normal train schedule by August 30. “Civic” learns more about BART’s plans, ongoing budget problems, new trains, the homeless and how BART is prepared for a mass shooting like the one at a light rail yard in San Jose last month.
Demonstrators in Hong Kong have been demanding more democratic freedoms, as well as an inquiry into police use of force and the release of detained protesters. As millions have taken to the streets and participated in other actions, clashes between police and protesters have turned violent. Here in the Bay Area, people from Hong Kong have been paying close attention, organizing solidarity actions and strategizing about how to stay involved from afar.
San Francisco’s residential water use is among the lowest among large cities in California, said Steven Ritchie, assistant general manager for water for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Ritchie joined “Civic” to explain how the city sources and uses its water, and why it is fighting state restrictions on the use of Tuolumne River water.
According to a ranking from the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, all San Francisco residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park, but residents of neighborhoods where most people identify as people of color have access to 56% less park space per capita than residents in neighborhoods that are predominantly white.
The state’s Employment Development Department, which handles unemployment claims, is still working to resolve thousands of backlogged cases and battling fraud. Emily Hoeven, who writes the daily WhatMatters newsletter for the nonprofit newsroom CalMatters, returns to “Civic” with the latest on how the state is handling unemployment.
For a new anthology, Gary Kamiya edited essays from writers considering the city at a time of dramatic change and when many have threatened to leave.
The Board of Trustees for City College of San Francisco on May 10 voted on a plan to reduce teacher pay instead of laying them off, a plan that members of the teachers union had also voted on and approved. But this is only a short-term fix to one of the college’s recurring financial problems, said Alan Wong, a member of the Board of Trustees.
Before coronavirus cases were confirmed in San Francisco, paramedic Alfredo Banuelos and his colleagues were watching case numbers in other cities, still at a distance. Then he got his first patient. When the virus arrived in San Francisco and the city locked down and everything changed, procedures on the ambulance changed too. He reflects on how the pandemic unfolded for emergency medical responders. “I remember having our morning roundups, and having our supervisors say, ‘OK, we’re still fine you guys.’ But then you get closer: OK, now it’s in the state of Washington.
Millions of Americans have stepped in as caregivers for loved ones with illnesses or injuries that mean they need help with daily living. The work is generally unpaid and often invisible to the world outside the family. Some of these caregivers are children. A new documentary, “Sky Blossom: Diaries of the Next Greatest Generation,” highlights young people who are taking on these roles in their families. Director and co-producer Richard Lui, a news anchor at MSNBC and NBC News, talked with “Civic” about why and how young people are stepping in to do this work and what it means to be a caregiver.
“Sky Blossom” will screen at CAAMFest on May 18 at 6 p.m. It will also air on MSNBC May 29 and 30, and will reach a theater in every state on May 26.
“Caregiving for my own father is what probably opened my eyes to this.