Former San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru speaks at a rally asking for walking safety during seventh annual Walk to Work Day at City Hall on April 10, 2019. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, left, and San Francisco Mayor London Breed, center, join then-Transbay Joint Powers Authority Board Chair Mohammed Nuru in turning on a bus schedule screen to celebrate the opening of the new Salesforce Transit Center. Nuru was arrested by the FBI in 2020 on corruption charges.

Elected Watchdogs in Scandal-Plagued Cities Show How SF Might Avert Future Corruption

Recent corruption scandals at City Hall highlight the need for good-government reforms, especially after efforts to create a public advocate’s office failed in July 2020. “It was a lost opportunity,” said David Campos, former supervisor and current chief of staff for District Attorney Chesa Boudin. The measure benefitted from precedents set in cities across the country that were similarly wracked by graft and mismanagement, including Detroit, Chicago and New York.

Kyra Kyles, left, and Erianna Jiles. Photos courtesy of YR Media.

In 2020, Youth Media Engaged With Election, Pandemic, Racial Reckoning

Newsrooms across the country have been in overdrive most of this year, covering a global pandemic, a primary and a presidential election and protests against systemic racism and police brutality. Contributors with YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists, many of them people of color, have been covering the events of 2020 with reporting and perspectives that are rarely afforded space and attention in national or corporate outlets.

Joe Eskenazi, managing editor at Mission Local

Journalist: Money Poured Into S.F. Elections Failed to Shift Outcomes

Every odd-numbered San Francisco supervisorial district had an election in November. One race was extremely close and several were targeted by big independent expenditure money. But Joe Eskenazi, managing editor at Mission Local, reports that money was apparently ineffective, failing to propel candidates to victory and failing to dissuade voters from passing new tax measures.

Mapping the S.F. Vote, Precinct by Precinct

With the majority — but not all — of San Francisco’s votes tallied, a series of maps created by local designer Chris Arvin show how differently, or similarly, residents in different neighborhoods voted from one another by location. Arvin joined “Civic” to discuss the maps and what they show, and a new tool he developed that offers an analysis of the correlations between precinct demographics and contest outcomes.

Bay Area Organizers Prepare to Mobilize if Election Results Not Followed

In the event that Donald Trump refuses to concede after the results of Tuesday’s election become clear, Bay Area organizers are ready to respond with street demonstrations and other civil disobedience. For weeks, groups like Bay Resistance have been hosting trainings and developing plans to mobilize residents, elected officials and business leaders to demand the results of the election be recognized.

Can the Ballot Be Used to Hold Local Government Accountable?

San Francisco has faced many scandals in which public officials abused their power for personal, political or organizational gain. Most recently, the Department of Public Works was rocked by an FBI investigation into alleged kickbacks, slush funds and illicit permitting influence. On the November, 2020 ballot, Proposition B has been proposed as a way to limit the scope of alleged corruption in the sprawling Department of Public Works, but what other measures could voters use in the future to keep elected and appointed officials accountable in San Francisco?

Using the Ballot to Fight Corruption

The Public Press hosted a panel discussion on Oct. 29 exploring how voters can use the ballot box to hold local and state government accountable. Veteran good-government experts provided a break down of the challenges in San Francisco and California, and answered questions from the audience. Our panelists were Carmen Balber, executive director, Consumer Watchdog, and Larry Bush, member, San Francisco Ethics Commission. The discussion was moderated by Bay Area radio journalist Max Pringle.