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Fri, September 13, 2013

Bay Area Fall Arts Preview

The Bay Area fall arts calendar is jam-packed with anniversaries, big name acts, and world premieres. KQED reporter Cy Musiker, host of "The Do-List," reveals his top picks for the best in music, dance, theatre and more.

Fri, September 13, 2013

News Panel: Legislative Roundup, NSA Secrecy Challenged, and Elderly Abuse

Lawmakers in Sacramento spent the week scrambling to get through about 400 bills before the end of the legislative session on Friday. Among the most notable is the governor's $315 million plan to ease prison crowding due to a federal court order. Also on the table were bills increasing the minimum wage, expanding immigrant rights, reducing penalties for drug possession and tighter restrictions on guns. The closely watched bill to regulate fracking was criticized by environmental groups, who say it doesn't go far enough.

Amidst continuing concerns about their role in NSA surveillance programs, internet giants including Google and Microsoft are challenging the secrecy that surrounds the surveillance orders they receive. Yahoo and Facebook have joined Google and Microsoft in filing lawsuits at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, seeking permission to disclose more information about their participation in the NSA's data gathering efforts.

An investigation of the California Department of Public Health reveals that the agency is failing to pursue cases of alleged abuse against some of the state's most vulnerable people, including elderly patients receiving in-home care or living in nursing homes. Instead, the agency is quietly and quickly closing cases after only minimal investigation.

Fri, September 06, 2013

Burning Man Beyond the Playa

Every year for one week, bold, super-sized works of art spring to life in a harsh desert playa in Nevada. Burning Man, with hundreds of original works and more than 60,000 attendees, has become North America's largest outdoor art festival. Host Thuy Vu meets the Flaming Lotus Girls, a female-driven team of Bay Area artists who are pushing themselves to the limit to create an enormous metal tree stump with fire-breathing fungi. Vu also examines how the Burning Man art scene has blossomed beyond the desert, with iconic sculptures transplanted to urban settings and even major civic installations like The Bay Lights.

Fri, September 06, 2013

News Panel: UC Leadership Transition, America's Cup Makes Waves, and the New iPhone

As Mark Yudof bids farewell as president of the University of California, we look at his legacy and challenges faced by the public university system moving forward. His five year tenure oversaw a near doubling of tuition and student protests, but he is credited with expanding financial aid programs and reforming the system's pension plan.

The America's Cup finals begin on Saturday, pitting Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA against Emirates Team New Zealand in a best-of-17 series that could last two weeks. Meanwhile, illegal weights on a Team USA catamaran have resulted in what are being described as the harshest penalties in the history of the sailing competition. The team was docked two points and fined $250,000 and a jury banned three team members from further participation in this year's races.

Expectations are mounting for Apple to introduce new iPhone models on September 10. Updates to the current iPhone 5, new color choices, and the availability of a lower-priced model are rumored to be announced next Tuesday. Apple's event comes amid speculation about the company's strategy for pursuing a greater market share overseas, particularly in China.

Fri, August 23, 2013

Oakland Tries to Even the Odds for African American Boys

In a collaboration between KQED and the San Francisco Chronicle series Even Odds, we offer an in-depth look at the daunting challenges faced by African American males in Oakland, and the city's attempt to address them. Three years ago, the Oakland Unified School District faced an alarming statistic -- more than half of its African American boys would not graduate. The troubling dropout rate had many factors at play: poverty, crime, high suspension rates and rising absenteeism. The district responded by opening the Office of African American Male Achievement. Its mission is to improve academic outcomes for black boys by pairing them with black men. While race-based, community mentorship is not new, for a public school system it was controversial. The early results are encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether this novel approach will actually work.

SF Chronicle video profile of Tiago Robinson:



Fri, August 16, 2013

Hillary Clinton's Next Move

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton drew national attention when she delivered her first major domestic policy speech in San Francisco at the American Bar Association's convention on Monday. Clinton's address calling for greater protection of voting rights was widely seen as the kickoff of a 2016 presidential run.

Fri, August 16, 2013

Tom Steyer Interview

KQED's Scott Shafer talks with San Francisco billionaire and green energy advocate Tom Steyer. A former hedge fund manager and founder of Farallon Capital Management, Steyer was the driving force behind last fall's Proposition 39. He's now using his resources to influence the Obama administration's climate change policy and to block the Keystone XL pipeline. A Democrat, Steyer recently supported BART workers at a rally and is considered a potential gubernatorial candidate for California.

Fri, August 16, 2013

Shasta Dam Expansion

A controversial $1 billion plan to add as much as 18 feet to the height of Shasta Dam has environmentalists, Native Americans, and agricultural interests at odds. Supporters say it would be a major boost to California's water supply but it would inundate sites sacred to the Winnemem Wintu and require the relocation of roads and property owners near Shasta Lake.

Fri, August 16, 2013

Federal Sentencing Reform

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a major shift in federal sentencing policies in a speech in San Francisco. Meanwhile, the state of California makes plans to reduce its prison population by nearly 10,000 even as Gov. Jerry Brown appeals again to the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene. Also in California, a prisoner-led hunger strike protesting conditions in isolation units stretches into its sixth week.

Fri, August 09, 2013

Remembering Artist Ruth Asawa

A look back at the life and work of pioneering Bay Area sculptor Ruth Asawa, who died this week at the age of 87. From KQED's archive, an excerpt from a 2005 SPARK profile showcases her creative process.

Fri, August 09, 2013

"No Child Left Behind" Waivers

San Francisco, Oakland, and six other California cities were granted waivers from the strict requirements and tough sanctions of the federal No Child Left Behind law. The school districts, which together encompass nearly 1 one million students, have one a year to re-allocate funding originally earmarked for tutoring and to implement an evaluation system that they proposed.

Fri, August 09, 2013

Chevron Fire Anniversary

Protesters marked the one year anniversary of a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond that sent more than 15,000 area residents to hospitals complaining of respiratory problems. The oil giant pleaded no contest to six criminal charges of violating labor and health codes and agreed to pay $2 million in fines and restitution. Meanwhile, the city of Richmond is suing Chevron over the August 6, 2012 explosion for "neglect...and corporate indifference."

Fri, August 09, 2013

Richmond, California Fights Foreclosures

Taking the foreclosure crisis into its own hands, the city of Richmond is threatening an unprecedented use of eminent domain to bail out residents with underwater mortgages. The move is being contested vigorously by banks, but proponents say it would allow residents to refinance their homes at current market values and prevent future foreclosures. Eminent domain is the acquisition of private property for public use.

Fri, August 09, 2013

BART Union Negotiations

The threat of a second strike by BART workers this summer and other labor disputes have sparked debate about the role of unions and employers in guaranteeing middle class compensation and benefits. AC Transit, Alameda County's public transportation authority, also narrowly averted a strike this week.

Fri, August 02, 2013

News Panel: Immigration Reform, BART Negotiations, Oakland Surveillance, and FBI Bust

Silicon Valley leaders and California Republicans are calling on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Citing family values, entrepreneurship and faith, major GOP donors and high tech CEOs are weighing in on the debate and pressing for decisive action.

BART and its unions continue negotiations as the threat of a strike looms. After a 4 and a half day walk-out in July, Gov. Brown ordered both sides back to the bargaining table, but they appear to remain split over salaries and benefits. Commuters and transit agencies are preparing for a potential shut down Monday morning.

Against protests by civil rights activists and privacy advocates, the Oakland City Council has unanimously approved a controversial surveillance center. They say the ability to continuously monitor video surveillance will help police respond to emergencies and make Oakland safer. Critics say the Domain Awareness Center could threaten civil liberties and turn Oakland into a police state.

In one of the biggest nationwide busts of child sex trafficking, the FBI has rescued 105 youth and arrested more than 100 alleged pimps. The FBI designated the Bay Area as a top hot spot for child sex trafficking; of the 76 cities included in the bust, the highest number of children were rescued in San Francisco, where the second-highest number of pimps were also arrested.

Fri, July 19, 2013

Eva Paterson on Racial Profiling and the Trayvon Martin case

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has sparked strong reaction, from Florida to California. The verdict, which coincided with the opening of the feature film "Fruitvale Station" about the killing of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer in 2009, struck a nerve in the Bay Area. It also cast a renewed spotlight on "stand your ground" laws, which allow people to defend themselves with deadly force if they feel threatened. Eva Paterson, president of the Equal Justice Society, discusses the lasting impact of these cases.

Fri, July 19, 2013

News Panel: Janet Napolitano, PG&E Penalty, and Richmond Rape Verdicts

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been confirmed as president of the University of California, making her the first female to head the UC system in its 145 year history. Confirmation proceeding were marked by student protests at the UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco. Opponents are voicing concerns over Napolitano's lack of experience in academia and her immigration policies. Supporters defend the unusual pick, citing her ability to manage a complex system and to meet the political demands of the job.

Taking a tough stance on PG&E for the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion, the Public Utilities Commission has proposed a hefty penalty to go toward pipeline safety improvements and a fine to be paid to the state. The utility company says the fine will limit its ability to pay for improvements to safety.

Guilty verdicts for two of the men accused in the 2009 gang rape of a 16-year old girl outside a Richmond High School dance brings some closure for the brutal crime that drew national attention. How has the school and the community addressed the issue of violence and attempted to move forward?

Fri, July 12, 2013

City College of San Francisco Battle

Rising concerns about the possible closure next year of City College of San Francisco erupted in a protest this week by supporters of the embattled school. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges earlier this month said the college did not meet enough of the fourteen recommendations to maintain its accreditation. Without that license to operate, the college -- one of the largest in the country -- could receive no public funds and would have to close. This week state officials stripped the elected Board of Trustees of its authority and appointed a "special trustee" with unilateral powers.

Fri, July 12, 2013

Bay Bridge Opening In Question and Asiana Crash Update

Two days after transportation officials announced that the Bay Bridge opening would be delayed until December, an independent review panel proposed a surprise interim fix that would allow the span to open on Labor Day or sooner. The plan calls for installing steel plates -- shims -- in gaps between bearings to prevent them from swiveling. We also get an update on new revelations about the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash at San Francisco International Airport.

Fri, July 12, 2013

Housing Controversy In Marin

After growing resistance by some Marin County residents to a regional plan for dense housing and transportation development in city cores, the board of supervisors withdrew two communities from so-called "Priority Development Areas." The long range development blueprint called Plan Bay Area includes affordable housing. Opposition by Marin residents has grown increasingly heated as some fear they'll succumb to "cookie-cutter" development patterns and lose local control.

Fri, July 12, 2013

Prisoner Hunger Strike

Gov. Brown has gone to the U.S. Supreme Court to fight a lower court's order requiring the release of nearly 10,000 prisoners to ease overcrowding in California prisons. Meanwhile, thousands of inmates continue to refuse meals in the largest prison hunger strike in state history. Protestors are targeting prison conditions, especially for inmates held in long-term isolation in "Security Housing Units" around the state. Prior hunger strikes prompted some policy changes, but many prisoners claim they haven't gone far enough.

Fri, June 28, 2013

Gay Marriage Victories

Same sex marriages have resumed in California after a federal appeals court Friday paved the way. It comes two days after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the invalidation of Proposition 8 and struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. Gay rights advocates, many congregated in San Francisco for Pride Week, have been celebrating. What do the court's decisions mean for gay and lesbian couples here in California and beyond? Also, how do the SCOTUS rulings on affirmative action and voting rights impact California?

Fri, June 28, 2013

One Family's Joy In the Wake of the Supreme Court Decisions

Julie Dorf and Jenni Olson were among many same-sex marriage supporters celebrating in San Francisco this week after the Supreme Court's rulings on Proposition 8 and DOMA. The couple, who have two daughters, aged 14 and 10, married in Canada in 2005. The DOMA decision means their family will now be eligible for over 1,000 federal benefits previously denied same-sex couples.

Fri, June 28, 2013

President Obama Climate Plan

President Obama this week called for sweeping executive action to combat the effects of climate change before a cheering crowd of environmentalists in Washington, D.C. One major proposal is modeled after California's ambitious climate change goals and pushes for a national cap-and- trade bill. Other initiatives include eliminating tax loopholes for big oil and creating policies that address the impact of severe weather.

Fri, June 28, 2013

Possible BART Strike

Members of BART's two largest unions have voted to authorize a strike which could result in transit chaos for thousands of commuters as early as next Monday. Fears are building that train operators, station agents and maintenance workers could walk off the job if a deal is not reached by Sunday. Negotiations between the union and BART management have broken down over wages, health and retirement benefits, and safety issues.

Fri, June 21, 2013

Interview with Congressman Jared Huffman

Congressman Huffman, a Marin County Democrat, is a cosponsor of the Student Loan Relief Act (H.R. 1595). If Congress doesn't act before July 1, federally subsidized loans are set to double from the current historically low rate of 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. With nearly half of California college students borrowing money to go to school, the hike would mean thousands of dollars more of debt. We hear from Congressman Huffman on efforts being made to freeze the rate.

Fri, June 21, 2013

News Panel: Open Records Battle, San Clemente Dam Removal, and San Jose Sues MLB

A move by Gov. Brown to weaken the California Public Records Act set off a heated controversy among journalists and open government advocates this week, followed by back-peddling from top state Democrats. At the core of the debate is whether the state or local governments should foot the bill for requests for government records.

In what will be the largest dam removal project ever undertaken in California, officials have agreed to tear down the 106-foot-tall San Clemente Dam in Monterey County. The reservoir it holds is now 95 percent silted up and the obsolete dam has been declared seismically unsafe. The removal of the dam will also be good for endangered steelhead trout, which for decades have been blocked from their traditional spawning grounds by the enormous barrier on the Carmel River.

The Oakland A's are itching to relocate from their longtime home at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to a new proposed stadium in downtown San Jose. But Major League Baseball has thus far blocked the move, claiming the San Francisco Giants hold the territorial rights to the South Bay. This week the city of San Jose sued Major League Baseball, challenging the geographic rights in order to allow the A's to make the move south.

Fri, June 14, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg on the NSA Leaks

Members of Congress, including California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, say Edward Snowden is a traitor who should be prosecuted for revealing classified information about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance programs. Calling him a modern-day Daniel Ellsberg, supporters around the world are taking to the streets in defense of Snowden. Ellsberg himself, whose famous leak of the Pentagon Papers led to public outrage over the Vietnam War, says Snowden's disclosures are the most important in United States history. Daniel Ellsberg joins guest host Dana King in studio for a conversation about domestic surveillance and the debate over espionage vs. whistle-blowing.

Fri, June 14, 2013

News Panel: State Budget Deal, SCOTUS on Gene Patenting, San Onofre Closure

Gov. Jerry Brown and top Democrats in the legislature reached a $96.4 billion budget deal this week, putting them on track to meet the June 15 deadline. The compromise plan embraces the governor's cautious revenue outlook, and gives more money to schools with higher numbers of low income students and English learners. It also includes some additional spending on mental health and dental services for the poor, with a commitment to increased funding in the future for social services.

The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that companies cannot patent naturally-occurring human genes, sending ripples through the medical and biotechnology industries. With billions of dollars on the line, some companies might abandon work on genetic research if they are unable protect it through patents. But it could also encourage more research and competition, opening the door to new discoveries.

While California pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California is closing. Some environmentalists and policy makers who are concerned about global warming have come to embrace nuclear power, which, unlike natural gas or coal powered energy plants, does not emit carbon into the atmosphere. What will the end of nuclear power mean for growing energy demand and how will the state offset the increased pollution caused by fossil fuel generated power?

Fri, June 07, 2013

Rebels With A Cause

Bay Area husband and wife team Nancy Kelly and Kenji Yamamoto talk about their latest film Rebels With A Cause. The documentary spotlights ordinary citizens who fought to preserve open space in what are now the Point Reyes National Seashore and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Rebels With A Cause is currently playing in Bay Area theaters.

Fri, June 07, 2013

News Panel: Video Surveillance, Cyber Security, and Obamacare

A leaked top secret court order reveals that the phone records of millions of U.S. citizens are being collected in bulk by the National Security Administration. The order, first reported by the Guardian, requires the telecommunications giant Verizon to turn over information about all telephone calls in its system during a three-month period. Top leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee are defending the practice, saying the widespread monitoring effort has been ongoing for several years.

Cyber-security will be high on the agenda this week when Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with U.S. President Barack Obama in California. At stake is whether American businesses, and especially Silicon Valley companies like Apple and Google, can protect themselves from hackers snooping for corporate secrets or intellectual property.

President Obama visits Silicon Valley this week during a fundraising swing through the state. Mr. Obama gives a speech in San Jose on Friday to shore up concerns about the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as the health-care overhaul rolls out in California, ahead of the rest of the nation. KQED's Obamacare Explained: A Guide for Californians provides some answers for consumers.

Fri, May 31, 2013

News Panel: Budget Talks, Bay Bridge in Limbo, and America's Cup Safety

As the June 15 state budget deadline approaches, Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers are split over what to do with unexpected revenue. Gov. Brown wants a general fund cushion, while his fellow Democrats are vying to restore cuts to social programs. California's new fiscal year begins July 1.

Officials now have until July 10 to determine whether the Bay Bridge will make its scheduled Labor Day weekend opening. Questions remain over how to repair broken rods on the new eastern span, while Gov. Brown has called for a system-wide review of Caltrans.

Is the America's Cup too dangerous? After sailor Andrew "Bart" Simpson died during a practice run with his team, Sweden's Artemis Racing, new safety regulations aim to prevent and address capsizes. For now, it is unclear which teams will race in the upcoming high-stakes competition.

Fri, May 31, 2013

SFMOMA Expansion Plans

The SFMOMA will close its doors on June 3 to begin construction on a 225,000 square feet expansion. During that time, the museum will experiment with new ways to bring art to its audience with traveling exhibitions, collaborations and site-specific projects. A special Countdown Celebration will mark the current building's final four days, with free admission to special activities and performances. SFMOMA director Neal Benezra talks to Scott Shafer about the 78-year-old institution's ambitious plans.

Fri, May 17, 2013

Anna Deavere Smith Pitches Empathy

It's not a word often heard in politics and on the news, but "empathy" is something that today's leaders might want to cultivate -- at least, so says performer and playwright Anna Deavere Smith. In an upcoming workshop in San Francisco, Smith aims to teach the art of empathy, and it's not just for actors. "Who is that boss that you're gonna go in and talk to if you would like a raise?" said Smith. "Who is that person you're about to fire?" Scott Shafer talks with Smith about how empathy can be a useful tool in many of life's arenas.

Fri, May 17, 2013

News Panel: Gov. Brown's May Revise Budget, New Inquiries into Bay Bridge Bolts, and Veteran Benefits Untapped

Gov. Jerry Brown's revised budget is $1.3 billion leaner than his original budget released in January. With a surge in state tax revenue and no deficit for the first time in years, Republicans cheered the governor's caution against spending. Democrats were less enthused. Schools appear to be the big winner with $2.9 billion in additional funding, but there are no increases for severely cut social safety net programs or for prison population reduction. Gov. Brown cited federal sequestration cuts, falling wages and higher Social Security payroll taxes as obstacles to the state's economic recovery, warning "It's a call for prudence, not exuberance."

A state Senate committee grilled Caltrans officials Tuesday over the 2,300 galvanized steel rods on the new $6.4 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge, whose installation and safety is now questionable. The hearing came a day after the Federal Highway Administration agreed to investigate Caltrans' decision making process and the $10 million fix for the 32 rods that have already failed.

Veterans returning from war find there are yet other battles to wage at home: from weathering the long-term effects of trauma to finding stable jobs and housing. In California, a state program to help veterans buy homes remains largely unspent: last year, only 83 loans totaling $10.5 million were originated, despite over $1 billion in available funds. Democratic Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez has taken aim at the program, adding to the clamor of voices demanding that veterans get more help, and in a more timely fashion.

Fri, May 10, 2013

News Panel: OPD Chief Resigns, Prison Realignment, and PG&E Penalty

The sudden announcement by Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan that he would step down immediately for medical reasons took everyone by surprise. A veteran of the OPD, Jordan has led the force for a turbulent 19 months, taking the reins after Chief Anthony Batts resigned. This latest shake-up leaves city leaders, the police force, and the community all battling the city's rising crime rate, in a state of shock. Assistant Chief Anthony Toribio has been appointed interim chief while a national search begins for Jordan's replacement.

Former Lt. Governor and 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidate Abel Maldonado hopes to get a measure on the November, 2014 ballot to end prison realignment. The program took effect in 2012, and shifts low level offenders to city and county supervision to save the state money. Gov. Brown is in the hot seat as a court order mandates a reduction of the prison population by more than 100,000 inmates by the end of this year. Critics say realignment and the early release of prisoners will create a public safety issue.

PG&E faces a potential $2.25 billion fine against PG&E September 9, 2010 gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno that left 8 people dead and an entire neighborhood destroyed. That's the recommendation of the Safety and Enforcement Division of the California Public Utilities Commission. If approved, the fine would be the largest ever by a state regulator. Jack Hagan, head of the Safety and Enforcement Division, has urged that "every penny of it to go toward making PG&E's system safer." PG&E Chairman and CEO Tony Earley calls the proposed fine "excessive" and insists that it would make improving the gas system much more difficult financially.

Fri, May 10, 2013

W. Kamau Bell Expresses Anger with a Smile

Former Bay Area stand-up comic W. Kamau Bell has made the big time. After being discovered by comedian Chris Rock, Bell is now host of his own show, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell. It returned this week on the FX Channel for 7 episodes, before going to a daily schedule in the fall. His long running one-man show The Bell Curve: Ending Racism in About an Hour was a local hit. Bell visited San Francisco recently and talked to KQED's Joshua Johnson about how the Bay Area shaped his comedy style and how he manages to bring humor to the subject of race. "As a black person in America, you have to find humor in race. Otherwise you go crazy."

Fri, May 03, 2013

First Openly Gay Man in Pro Sports Played for Oakland A's

When NBA player Jason Collins publicly came out as gay this week, many hailed him as the first active player in one of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues to do so. However, that distinction should go to the Bay Area's Glenn Burke, a former Oakland A's baseball player who was open about his sexuality in the 1970s. While Collins' announcement has been met with more support than condemnation, Burke faced a different social and professional landscape. "Glenn was comfortable with who he was," said a childhood friend. "Baseball was not comfortable with who he was." Ted Griggs, President of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, a co-producer of the documentary Out. The Glenn Burke Story, sits down with Scott Shafer to talk about Glenn Burke, Jason Collins and the You Can Play Project.

Fri, May 03, 2013

Genetically Engineered Foods

What's really in your food? Last November's Proposition 37 would have required all genetically engineered foods in California to be labeled, but the initiative lost at the ballot box. Now California Democrat Sen. Barbara Boxer is taking up the issue with a bill to require similar labeling by the FDA. In this report from KQED Science, producer Gabriela Quiros looks at the technology behind genetically engineered crops and what the pros and cons might be. A full half-hour documentary on the topic, Next Meal: Engineering Food, airs at 7:30 pm, Wednesday May 8 on KQED 9.

Fri, May 03, 2013

News Panel: Spring Wildfires / Fusion Troubles

Early spring wildfires are burning, threatening homes and scorching hundreds of acres throughout the state. As snowpack data comes in, California faces one of the driest years on record. With forests and grasslands already tinder dry, firefighters are gearing up for what could be a nasty fire season.

Using the world's largest laser, scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been trying to ignite a nuclear fusion reaction in a laboratory essentially mimicking a tiny sun. Called the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the $5 billion project hopes to revolutionize energy by laying the groundwork for a potentially endless supply of clean energy. But after missing several deadlines and a management shake-up, the facility is now adjusting expectations.

Fri, April 26, 2013

SF City Attorney Herrera on Lobbyists and Patient Dumping

A proposal to bring more sunshine into San Francisco's city hall is in the works in the form of an ethics ordinance introduced by City Attorney Dennis Herrera and Board of Supervisors President David Chiu this week. The legislation broadens the definition of who qualifies as a lobbyist and aims to increase transparency surrounding development and construction projects. Scott Shafer talks with City Attorney Herrera about the proposed law as well as recent inquiries into alleged "patient dumping" by a Nevada hospital.

Fri, April 26, 2013

News Panel: West Coast Oil Pipeline, Surveillance Cameras, and Education Funding

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to dramatically revamp how public school funding is distributed is encountering resistance. The governor's formula would funnel more resources to school districts with higher numbers of English-learners and students from low-income households. Calling it a "civil rights cause for the children of California," Mr. Brown has promised his opponents "the battle of their lives. But Senate Democrats have a competing plan to peg funding individually to disadvantaged students and schools.

As controversy over the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast continues, a similar project is receiving little attention, but could hit closer to home for California residents. The Trans Mountain pipeline carrying oil from Canada's tar sands to the West Coast is looking to nearly triple its capacity, making it potentially bigger than Keystone. Canadian authorities have the final say over Trans Mountain's plans, but environmentalists say it bears watching.

San Francisco's Chinese New Year parade, its Bay-to-Breakers race and the Gay Pride parade all travel along Market Street. Now, Police Chief Greg Suhr wants to install surveillance monitors along the thoroughfare. The proposal comes in light of the role that security cameras played in the rapid arrest of a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing. Will the move increase safety or infringe upon civil liberties?

Fri, April 19, 2013

News Panel: Immigration Reform, California Environmental Quality Act, and more

As immigration reform legislation works its way through the U.S. Senate, there's much at stake for two of California's leading industries -- agriculture and technology. The bill, presented by a bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the "Gang of Eight," contains several controversial elements including a pathway to citizenship, new visa programs for low and high-skilled workers, changes to family-based visas and a greater emphasis on employment and education skills.

California's Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, may be in for an overhaul. The 43-year-old landmark law requires state and local agencies to identify and try to mitigate the environmental impacts of development and construction projects. Critics say the act has been abused by special interest groups, while supporters say environmental protections should not be watered down. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg is leading the reform effort, while Gov. Brown continues to weigh the likelihood of changing CEQA this year.

Chevron is under fire from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) for last summer's explosion at its Richmond refinery that left 15,000 residents and employees in need of medical care. The oil giant has been accused of negligence in its long-term plant maintenance, a problem seen at other refineries elsewhere. The results of the regulatory board's report will be presented at a public hearing in Richmond on April 19.

Fri, April 19, 2013

Gov. Brown, Climate Change and China

Gov. Jerry Brown is calling his trade mission to China a success, after a whirlwind eight-day visit to six cities. But it was more than just business deals that Brown was after. The Governor worked to enlist China as a partner in California's fight against climate change. "No one group can solve the problem," Brown said. "Not the United States. Not California. Not Japan. Not China. We all have to do it." KXTV political editor John Myers looks at why the governor is bullish on the country's efforts, in this special report for KQED.

Fri, April 12, 2013

Governor Brown in China

Gov. Brown, along with nearly 100 business people from California, is on an historic trade mission in China this week. While there, he announced a deal with Chinese investors for a $1.5 billion waterfront development in Oakland, urged Chinese officials to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and touted the virtues of high speed rail while riding a bullet train from Beijing to Shanghai. News10's John Myers is traveling with the governor and reports from Shanghai in the first of a two-part series.

Fri, April 12, 2013

Exploratorium Opens New Home

For over 43 years, San Francisco's Exploratorium has tested the theory that hands-on learning is the best way to teach science. And by all accounts, its model is successful. The museum-slash-playground has a new $300 million solar-powered building with gorgeous views of the bay and displays that range from bay life forms to a giant "tinkering" clock. The Exploratorium's model of interactive science learning has inspired centers all over the world, including the Mission Science Workshop in San Francisco. Dan Sudran runs this small, community-based program on a shoestring budget, using mostly materials he gathered himself. He wants to reach poor and underserved kids -- like those who live in the Mission District -- who might never find their way to a big science center like the Exploratorium. At both Sudran's down-and-dirty workshop and its upscale cousin across town, the key question remains: what kind of science education do kids need and what really works?

Reported by PBS NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels and produced by Monica Lam

Fri, April 12, 2013

News Panel: Gun Legislation, the Sacramento Kings, and more

Federal gun control legislation cleared the first procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate and now will be debated and likely voted upon. The bill includes federal background checks and stricter laws on illicit gun trafficking. President Obama and Democrats are pushing for stronger gun curbs in the wake of last year's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. Legislation is also underway here in California, which already has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, to ban semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines and to mandate background checks for ammunition purchases.

The potential move of the Sacramento Kings to Seattle has fans and public figures fighting to keep the beloved team in California's capital. Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA All Star, has developed a plan to move the Kings into an updated arena and revitalize the city's downtown area in an attempt to match Seattle's $341 million offer. The NBA's board of governors has the ultimate say in whether the move will take place and is expected to make a decision at its next meeting on April 18th and 19th. Meanwhile, the Maloof family, which owns the Kings, has given Sacramento until 5pm Friday to prove their deal can match Seattle's offer.

Fri, April 05, 2013

Danny Glover, Executive Producer of The House I Live In

Actor and San Francisco native Danny Glover talks about "The House I Live In," a new documentary he championed as executive producer airing on KQED next week. The film takes a critical look at the so-called war on drugs and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance this year. "It's really not a war on drugs, it's a war on people," Glover explains to KQED's Joshua Johnson.

Fri, April 05, 2013

News Panel: Obama in Bay Area, Bay Bridge Tanker Crash Report, and more

President Obama visited the Bay Area for the first time since his re-election to raise money for Democratic Party candidates and to gain support for returning Rep. Nancy Pelosi to the position of House Speaker. In San Francisco, the president was met by environmental activists protesting the construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Meanwhile in Silicon Valley, newcomer and fellow democrat Ro Khanna says he will challenge six-term Congressman Mike Honda, going against the wishes of the president. The race is expected to be one of the most heated in the 2014 election.

The California Board of Pilot Commissioners has suspended the license of pilot Guy Kleess, who was found responsible for crashing an oil tanker into a western-span tower of the Bay Bridge this past January. Also, following the discovery of faulty steel rods on the Bay Bridge, Caltrans investigators are still assessing what caused them to break and whether other parts produced by the same manufacturer may be at risk of malfunctioning.

Palo Alto-based electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors has unveiled its first financing plan to make their nearly $70,000 Model S more accessible to consumers. With financing from Wells Fargo or US Bank, drivers would only need a 10% down payment. The ten-year old company also announced it is turning a profit for the first time. The news initially sent stock prices soaring, but Wall Street seems unconvinced that the new loan program will lead to a significant increase in consumer demand.

Fri, March 29, 2013

News Panel: Broken Bolts on Bay Bridge, Stockton Bankruptcy, and more

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge will undergo repairs for more than thirty broken bolts. Caltrans says the span is still safe and the setback won't stall the scheduled Labor Day weekend opening. Also, the Golden Gate Bridge makes national news this week as the first bridge in California and the third in the country to have all electronic tolling.

Wall Street creditors seeking to block the City of Stockton's filing for Chapter 9 protection took the city to court. At the center of the debate is whether Stockton's obligation to the California Public Employees' Retirement System should be protected. The judge is expected to rule on Monday.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Company is fighting to stay open in Point Reyes National Seashore despite an order by the U.S. Interior Department to close up shop. The family-owned, Marin County company?s cause has generated controversy, while attracting support from Louisiana to Washington, D.C.

Fri, March 29, 2013

Is Your Couch Toxic? Interview with Arlene Blum

They're in just about all our homes -- couches and chairs containing polyurethane foam -- which contain large quantities of chemical flame retardants, mandated by California law. But flame retardants have been linked to numerous health problems, including cancer, learning problems and infertility, and state lawmakers are now considering whether to overhaul the law. The debate was started by Berkeley scientist Arlene Blum, who pioneered research showing the dangers of Chlorinated Tris in children's pajamas. She succeeded in getting it removed from clothing, in 1977. Now, decades later, she's back on the front lines battling flame retardants, this time, in our furniture.

Fri, March 22, 2013

Legal Analysis

Legal experts explain what issues are before the high court, and how the possible outcomes could have an impact in California and beyond.

Fri, March 22, 2013

Web Extra: Gavin Newsom

Newsom discusses Americans' changing attitudes on same-sex marriage, including those of his father and grandfather.

Fri, March 22, 2013

Proposition 8 Path to U.S. Supreme Court

More than four years after California voters approved Proposition 8, the state's ban on same sex marriage gets a full hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 26th. The high court will also hear oral arguments for and against the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. This comes as recent polls show a significant jump in support for same-sex marriage. The political climate has also shifted. President Obama and some prominent Republicans have recently voiced support for gay marriage. We look back at the series of events leading to this historical moment.

Fri, March 22, 2013

Newsmaker Interview: Gavin Newsom

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom recalls his controversial decision as mayor of San Francisco to grant marriage licenses to gay couples in 2004. His actions helped to energize supporters of traditional marriage.

Fri, March 22, 2013

Newsmaker Interview: Andrew Pugno

Attorney Andrew Pugno, General Counsel for Protect Marriage.com -- sponsors of Proposition 8 -- talks about the legal defense he is helping to present to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fri, March 15, 2013

Iraq War in Pictures

On the eve of the 10th anniversary of the American-led invasion of Iraq, an exhibit of photographs at the De Young Museum in San Francisco takes an intimate look at the impact of war on Iraqi citizens. From young boys rehearsing a play about martyrdom to men playing dominoes at dusk, the images in "Eye Level in Iraq" offer a glimpse into everyday life as captured by photojournalists Kael Alford and Thorne Anderson. The museum's chief curator Julian Cox talks about the role of art and journalism and what he hopes viewers will take away from the exhibition.

Fri, March 15, 2013

News Panel: SF Symphony on Strike, City College, and more

Will City College of San Francisco make the grade and keep its accreditation? The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has recommended fourteen controversial changes which include layoffs, financial reform, and campus closures. Friday is the deadline for the embattled college to turn in its report showing how the suggested reforms have been and will be implemented.

San Francisco Symphony musicians went on strike this week, putting an upcoming high profile tour to the East Coast in jeopardy. Without a contract since February, the union representing the performers says management's new proposals are not on par with comparable orchestras, like those in Los Angeles and Chicago.

California's top judge, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, made the case before state lawmakers this week to restore funding to the courts. More than $1 billion in cuts over the past five years has resulted in court closures, reduced hours and layoffs. Gov. Brown's budget this year would reduce court construction funds by $200 million.

Fri, March 08, 2013

Urban Planning: Stuart Cohen

As we look to the future, Bay Area urban planners are scrambling for ideas on how to handle the projected increase in population. Over the last 40 years, California's sprawling growth and dependence on cars has taken its toll. According to a recent Census Bureau report, the region is home to the most "mega-commuters" in the country. These are people who spend at least 90 minutes and drive over 50 miles to get to work. Families, particularly those who can least afford it, are spending more and more of their time and income just getting where they need to go. Stuart Cohen, recipient of a 2013 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award, believes that smarter regional planning can reverse these trends. As a founder and executive director of the nonprofit TransForm, he is leading an effort to revitalize local communities into diverse, vibrant places where more people walk, bike and take world-class public transit.

Fri, March 08, 2013

News Panel: Dow Jones High, Devil's Slide, and more

From across California, thousands mourned the murders of two Santa Cruz police officers killed during a routine investigation. The long and troubled criminal history of the killer raises questions about the criminal justice system.

The Dow Jones hit a twelve-year record high this week. Is it a temporary uptick or does it suggest a broader economic recovery? With new data out on job growth, how are Bay Area companies doing?

Commuters driving the coastal route between Santa Cruz and San Francisco can expect a different view next month. A dangerous stretch of Highway 1, known as Devil's Slide, will soon be re-routed away from the steep cliffs to new state-of-the-art mile-long tunnels.

Fri, March 01, 2013

News Panel: Budget Sequestration, Prop. 8 and DOMA, and more

With budget talks on Capitol Hill at an impasse, the nation braces itself for automatic federal spending cuts, also known as "the sequester," that will affect major programs from education to the military. How hard and where will California be hit?

Bay Area real estate prices are on the rise. In almost every corner of the region, home-price appreciation is outpacing projected national growth. Whether low-end, high-end or somewhere in the middle, some analysts say there are too few houses for sale to meet buyer appetite.

The Obama administration urged the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage. Silicon Valley companies, prominent Republicans and several state attorneys general have filed similar briefs in the past weeks as the high court prepares to consider the constitutionality of Prop. 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act later this month.

Fri, March 01, 2013

Aileen Hernandez: A Pioneer for Women and Civil Rights

Born in Brooklyn, New York to Jamaican parents, Aileen Clarke Hernandez experienced the insults and injuries of racism and sexism early in life -- and dedicated herself to combatting those forces. Graduate school and an internship with the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union drew her to California. An early and passionate advocate for women's rights, Hernandez was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as the only woman to serve on the newly established U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She went on to found and eventually become president of the National Organization for Women. Now in her 80s, she chairs the California Women's Agenda, a state alliance of over 600 organizations, and is the founder and coordinator of the San Francisco Bay Area-based Black Women Stirring the Waters discussion group.

Hernandez was recently featured in MAKERS, a sweeping PBS documentary that showcases the stories of some of America's most influential women.

Fri, February 22, 2013

Bay Area Gun Violence

An epidemic of mass shootings, including the brutal killings of 20 children and six adults from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, has shaken the nation. But some urban communities live with the relentless reality of gun violence every day. Here in Northern California, in places like Oakland, San Jose, Richmond, Vallejo and Fresno, a recent violent crime surge has made residents anxious. We devote our full program this week to the topic of gun violence in our communities.

Fri, February 22, 2013

Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere

In the past five years, there were more than 550 homicides in Oakland, most in shootings. According to data compiled by the Urban Strategies Council, 143 Oakland residents age 17 and under were shot in 2011 -- six of them fatally. A group of committed demonstrators are pleading to be heard by the police, policymakers, and their own community. The group calls itself SAVE, an acronym for Soldiers Against Violence Everywhere.

Fri, February 22, 2013

Newsmaker interview:  William Bratton 

An interview with Oakland's controversial new police consultant Bill Bratton, as he prepares to tackle the violence on the streets of one of the country's hardest hit communities.

Fri, February 15, 2013

A Church Divided

Is homosexuality compatible with Christianity? This question is debated fiercely in A Church Divided, a television documentary narrated by Peter Coyote and hosted by Scott Shafer. It takes viewers behind the scenes of the United Methodist Church's global convention in Tampa, Florida. At stake is the church's official policy on gays and lesbians. Progressive Methodists want to amend church doctrine declaring homosexuality incompatible with Christian teaching, but conservative Methodists want to retain the church's stance calling homosexuality a sin. As the U.S. Supreme Court stands poised to decide the future of same-sex marriage, A Church Divided is a timely examination of a complex and divisive issue.

Fri, February 08, 2013

News Panel: Medical Marijuana, Silicon Valley Boom, and more

Medical marijuana advocates argued this week before the California Supreme Court that cities do not have the power to ban pot dispensaries, saying that it undermines the 1996 voter-approved state law allowing cannabis for medical use. Opponents say the law's language is vague. The case has sweeping ramifications for local governments across the state and in the Bay Area, where dozens of cities have enacted dispensary bans.

Community members, elected officials, executives and civic leaders convene in San Jose for this year's State of The Valley Conference, Silicon Valley's annual "town meeting," to assess the outlook for the region. Meanwhile, the annual Silicon Valley Index shows jobs, income and IPOs are all on the rise, yet the gap between rich and poor is widening, particularly among some minority groups.

California is closer to becoming the first state in the nation to declare great white sharks an endangered species. The Fish and Game Commission voted Wednesday to designate the predator as a candidate for the list, with the final decision pending a year-long review.

Fri, February 08, 2013

Pedal Power: The Future of Cycling in the City

Over the past six years, the number of San Franciscans using bikes for everyday trips has increased 71 percent. San Francisco Bicycle Coalition Executive Director Leah Shahum talks about the future of cycling following the recent release of SFMTA's Bicycle Strategy, and San Francisco's potential as a world class city for bicycling.

Fri, February 01, 2013

Super Bowl

Mark Purdy, sports columnist for the San Jose Mercury News, reports from New Orleans, where the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens are warming up for the Super Bowl. It's the sixth time the 49ers are playing in the NFL championship, but the first time that both they and the opposing team will be coached by brothers -- Jim and John Harbaugh. With construction on a new stadium underway, steadily rising ticket prices, and a potential sixth trophy in the winning, it's an exciting time for the Bay Area team.

Fri, February 01, 2013

Immigration Reform Roundtable

Comprehensive immigration reform is on the table in Washington, with proposals from President Obama and a bipartisan group of eight senators. What is the potential impact on California, home to about 2.5 million undocumented immigrants, from farmworkers in the Central Valley to high-tech engineers in Silicon Valley?

Fri, February 01, 2013

Laura's Law

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announces plans to implement a version of "Laura's Law," a California measure which allows for court-ordered treatment of potentially dangerous mentally ill patients. The law is named for Laura Wilcox, a Nevada County woman who was murdered by a schizophrenic man with a history of violence. Lawmakers around the country are calling for such measures in the wake of recent mass shootings. But as Spencer Michels of PBS NewsHour reports, implementation of Laura's Law remains a challenge.

Fri, January 25, 2013

News Panel: State of the State, Controversy in Oakland, and more

Gov. Jerry Brown delivered more good news in an upbeat State of the State address, thanking lawmakers, voters and others for making tough decisions to balance the budget. The governor described his long term vision for revamping education funding and revising the state's environmental law. He also promoted the construction of high-speed rail and a controversial plan to build tunnels to transport water from north to south.

The Oakland City Council approved the hiring of police consultant William Bratton after a heated meeting that drew hundreds from the community and lasted more than nine hours. Previously chief of the LAPD and NYPD, Bratton is known for aggressive tactics, including the highly controversial "stop and frisk" policy which has raised concerns over civil rights and racial profiling. Oakland is the most violent city in the state, with a 23 percent increase in serious crime in 2012.

Apple Inc. reported a $13 billion profit in the fourth quarter of 2012, bringing last year's total profit to over $40 billion. But the maker of the highly popular iPads and iPhones found investors still hedging their bets, with a marked drop in the price of the company's stock.

Fri, January 25, 2013

SFJAZZ Center Opening

The new SFJAZZ Center opened this week to rave reviews with all-star performances and celebrity appearances, including Bill Cosby. Hailed as the first stand-alone hall in the west exclusively for jazz performance and education, the venue features a 700-seat auditorium with a state of the art sound system. The center, located in the Hayes Valley neighborhood in the heart of the city's arts corridor, will draw big name acts as well as support local musicians and school groups.

Fri, January 18, 2013

Conversation with Gov. Jerry Brown

In an exclusive interview, Gov. Jerry Brown talks about his plans for shaping California's future. With a balanced budget in hand and the bold declaration that the state's prisons are no longer in a state of emergency, Gov. Brown talks with PBS NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels about what's next: better funding for schools, improving gun control, and pushing through high speed rail and water projects. The governor also deflects the notion that he's thinking about his legacy.

Fri, January 18, 2013

News Panel: Gun Control, Immigration Reform, and more

With preparations underway in Washington, D.C. for Monday's historic Presidential Inauguration taking place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Obama administration took a shot at federal gun control policy. Comprehensive immigration reform is also being tackled, with the Republican Party looking to expand its reach to the increasingly diverse electorate. KQED's Scott Shafer reports from Washington on how California lawmakers are hoping to guide legislation.

Fri, January 11, 2013

News Panel: California Budget, State Prisons, Oil Tanker Accident, and more

Gov. Jerry Brown's new state spending plan eliminates the deficit in the coming fiscal year, projects future surpluses and increases public education funding.

Declaring an end to the prison overcrowding crisis, Gov. Brown called for federal authorities to return oversight to the state. Meanwhile, a 2011 court-ordered population cap of about 110,000 prisoners has not yet been met.

The pilot of an oil tanker that sideswiped a Bay Bridge tower Monday had a record of other accidents. While no oil appears to have been spilled, the collision was a stark reminder of the disastrous 2007 Cosco Busan accident, and raised concerns over the environmental impact of massive tankers on the San Francisco Bay.

Fri, January 11, 2013

Conversation with Assemblymember Nancy Skinner

A new bill to regulate and track ammunition in California is one of several legislative proposals being pushed in the wake of the mass shooting in Newton, CT. On Monday, Assembly member Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) unveiled a so-called "bullet bill" that would require the licensing of ammunition sellers and the creation of a state justice department registry to track sales.

Fri, December 28, 2012

2012 Year in Review

This Week in Northern California takes a look at some of the highs and lows of the past year in California and beyond. Guest host Scott Shafer and panelists review some of the memorable stories of 2012 in politics and the election, the economy, the environment, local culture, and make a few predictions for next year.

This Week in Northern California returns with a new show on Friday, January 11, 2013

Tune in next week for Critical Condition, a half-hour special examining the crisis facing California hospitals.

Fri, December 14, 2012

News Panel: Air Travel, King Tides, and more

As Congress and the White House prepare to tackle comprehensive immigration reform next year, there is much at stake for California, the state with the largest population of undocumented immigrants.

After decades of minimal oversight, the controversial hydraulic fracturing industry will finally be regulated in California. "Fracking," the high-pressure injection of chemicals and water to split rocks and extract natural gas and oil, is in use by companies at more than 600 wells throughout the state.

The skies are less friendly than they used to be. Air travel has become increasingly frustrating with penalties and fees going up for everything from checking baggage to preferred seat selection. The struggling airline industry expects to pocket $36 billion in revenue from fees alone this year.

As the sun and moon align this week, their combined gravitational pull on the ocean is producing the highest tides of 2012. Though "king tides" aren't caused by climate change, organizers of the King Tides Initiative say the phenomenon is a vivid demonstration of the future impact of rising sea levels on the Bay Area landscape.

Fri, December 07, 2012

Conversation with Sal Khan

Over six million students around the world are familiar with his voice and his online videos, featuring colorful chalkboard-style drawings. But many may not know his face: Sal Khan is the founder of Khan Academy and a pioneer in the online education movement. His videos are short and simple and available to anyone around the world, for free. In an interview at his Silicon Valley offices, Khan talks with guest-host Thuy Vu about the importance of self-paced learning and what his approach can offer the California education system.

Fri, December 07, 2012

News Panel: Oakland Police Avoid Federal Takeover, the Effects of Prop 39, and more

The City of Oakland struck a deal with civil rights attorneys who sought an unprecedented federal takeover of the police department. At issue was a case involving the so-called Riders, four police officers who were accused in 2000 of imposing vigilante justice in West Oakland. The deal, which hands tremendous power from OPD to a court-appointed director, still needs to be approved by a federal judge.

New funding made available by the recent passage of Proposition 39 may go toward making as many as half of the state's schools more energy efficient. The measure, put on the November ballot by billionaire investor Tom Steyer, closes a tax loophole on out-of-state corporations that will generate $1.1 billion a year. Half of that money will fund projects to install new windows, better insulation, modern lighting and more efficient heating and air conditioning at thousands of public schools.

By kindergarten, one in four African American boys believe they will fail in school. That's one of several disturbing findings in a report commissioned by a state Assembly committee. Education, health and employment were identified as the most significant areas of concern for boys of color.

Fri, November 30, 2012

Conversation with U.S. Congressman-elect Eric Swalwell

One of the youngest new members to join the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep.-elect Eric Swalwell (D-CA) leaves his post as a Dublin city council member. He successfully unseated incumbent Pete Stark, the outspoken 20-term congressman, also a Democrat. In an interview from Capitol Hill, where he's attending new member orientation, Swalwell talks with Scott Shafer.

Fri, November 30, 2012

News Panel: Supreme Court on Prop 8, Third Strike Releases, and Drakes Bay Oyster Co.

The U.S. Supreme Court considers whether to review California's Proposition 8, banning same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, officials in San Francisco anticipate a rush of gay and lesbian weddings if the case is denied by the high court and the lower courts' rulings stand, making the ban unconstitutional.

Some prisoners sentenced to life for nonviolent, non-serious offenses are being re-sentenced and released following voter approval of Proposition 36. The measure reforms California's tough "three strikes" sentencing law and limits when prosecutors can seek a life sentence.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has lost its lease after decades in Point Reyes National Seashore. After a long environmental battle, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar decided to shut down the historic oyster farm and restore Drakes Estero to wilderness.

Fri, November 16, 2012

News Panel: State Fiscal Outlook, Nudity Ban Controversy, and more

A new report by the Legislative Analyst's Office forecasts a boost for California's economy. The passage of Gov. Brown's Proposition 30, an upgraded credit rating for the state and predictions of a growing economy are expected to help shrink the state budget deficit.

California launched the country's first large-scale carbon market with the auction of pollution credits. Companies emitting over 25,000 tons in greenhouse gases must have one allowance, or credit, for each metric ton. Many see the system as a win for the environment, while critics say it?s a tax on business.

What do campaigns know about you? Thanks to the trail of digital data generated by increasingly on-line, networked lifestyles, political campaigns have been working to target specific voters and to develop ways to predict how they will vote.

In San Francisco, the Board of Supervisors is considering a ban on nudity on the city's streets. Protestors say that freedom of expression is at stake, but supporters say it will help curb a public nuisance. If passed, the law would levy fines that start at $100.

Fri, November 09, 2012

Tribute to Maya Angelou

In Belva Davis' final broadcast as host of This Week in Northern California, she looks at the importance of friendship in a special segment honoring author and performer Maya Angelou. Davis spoke with Angelou at her home in North Carolina about creativity and the importance of giving back.

Fri, November 09, 2012

News Panel: Election Results and Analysis


Belva Davis will retire after this November 9 broadcast. Say farewell, share well wishes, and relive moments from her storied career.

What does President Obama's win say about the changing electorate, with an estimated 70 percent of the Latino vote helping to deliver key swing states? Does this election signal a tipping point in the influence of voters of color?

It was a win-win for California Democrats this week, securing a supermajority in both houses of the legislature. Voters approved Proposition 30, Gov. Brown's tax measure, which promises to bring in billions in funding for schools.

The effort to curb the use of paycheck deductions for political organizing failed as Proposition 32 was voted down. Proposition 34, a voter's initiative to abolish the death penalty, also failed. The regulation of food remains status quo, as both a statewide measure to require labeling of genetically modified foods and a soda tax in the city of Richmond were rejected by voters.

Tue, November 06, 2012

Election Special Part II

As election returns continue to come in, some trends are emerging with California's statewide ballot measures.

Proposition 30, Gov. Brown's tax initiative, which promises to bring in billions in funding for schools, seems headed for victory. Other likely winners are Proposition 36 which would revise California's three strikes law by reducing sentences for second and third strike offenders and Proposition 35 which would increase penalties for human trafficking.

Likely headed for defeat are: Proposition 38, an alternative tax measure, funded by Molly Munger, which would increase funding to preschool and K-12 education; Proposition 32, which would prohibit unions and some corporations from contributing directly to candidates or political campaigns; Proposition 37, which would require labeling of genetically modified foods.

It's too soon to call several closely watched congressional and legislative races, but after 40 years in Congress, Rep. Pete Stark seems headed for defeat by a fellow Democrat, 31-year-old prosecutor Eric Swalwell. Recent redistricting and the state's new "top two" primary system have played major roles in this election.

Tue, November 06, 2012

Election Night Special

President Barack Obama was elected to a second term. As we await speeches from the president and Gov. Romney, Belva Davis and her guests report and analyze election results in California.

Fri, November 02, 2012

Election Preview

Early voting in California is well underway and election results in the state could be delayed due to the high volume of mail-in ballots. In addition to the close presidential race between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, voters have eleven state propositions to tackle that have generated more than $350 million in campaign spending.

There are also many hotly contested local, legislative and congressional races throughout the state that are putting newly drawn districts and the top-two primary system into effect for the first time.

This week a preview of next Tuesday's election with some of the latest polls, a look at the role of the women's vote and ethnic voters, and the latest on the presidential race and the impact of Superstorm Sandy.

Fri, October 26, 2012

This Week in Northern California Special Edition: California Schools in the Crosshairs

There's a lot riding on the November 6 election for California's once prized public education system. With $6 billion in trigger cuts looming due to the state budget deficit, two competing tax measures on the ballot propose to temporarily help fill the gap. Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax a quarter cent and income tax on those earning more than $250,000 annually. Competing Proposition 38, sponsored by millionaire attorney Molly Munger, would increase income tax on a sliding scale for those earning at least $7,316 a year.

Fri, October 26, 2012

News Panel: California Schools in the Crosshairs

We devote the full program to looking at how public education is financed in California, and hear from educators, students, policy experts and politicians about how we got here, and what solutions might provide a way out.

Guest Host: Al Letson

Fri, October 19, 2012

The Photography of Doug Rickard

Local photographer Doug Rickard brings a keen eye to Google street view. He's creating images that reference documentary photography of the past, but push the medium forward in controversial and compelling ways.

Fri, October 19, 2012

News Panel: Campaign Finance, Politics of Education Tax Propositions, Genetically Modified Food, and more

The influx of money from outside California on local races and statewide campaigns could greatly influence government and policy. Contributions from an Arizona non-profit, called Americans for Responsible Leadership, which is funding ads in support of Prop. 32 and opposed to Prop. 30, raise questions about the role of third party financing and loopholes in California's campaign finance laws.

Gov. Brown's Proposition 30, which would raise taxes to provide funding for public education, is being attacked from the political left and right by a pair of wealthy siblings, Molly and Charles Munger, who have spent tens of millions of dollars opposing Proposition 30. Molly Munger, a civil rights attorney from Pasadena who is offering an alternative public education tax measure, Proposition 38, recently pulled a controversial attack ad. Conservative Stanford physicist Chuck Munger opposes any new taxes.

If approved by voters, Proposition 37 would make California the first state to require labeling on all genetically modified foods and would prevent those foods from being called "natural." Opponents of the measure include farmers, concerned over a potential spike in food costs -- and large corporations like Nestle and Coca-Cola, which have been fighting both state and federal legislation since GMOs were introduced 18 years ago. Some supporters are nutrition activists, who feel that all genetically modified products should be identified for consumers.

Fri, October 12, 2012

Award-winning husband and wife journalists Lynn Povich and Stephen Shepard

Lynn Povich and forty-five of her female colleagues made history in 1970 when they filed the first-ever sex discrimination lawsuit against their bosses at Newsweek magazine. Povich's new memoir "The Good Girls Revolt" details the inspirational story behind this milestone in the women's movement. Former Businessweek editor-in-chief Stephen Shepard's book "Deadlines and Disruptions" chronicles his nearly fifty years in journalism and the industry's turbulent transition to the digital age.

Fri, October 12, 2012

News Panel: Campaign Update, Propositions 34 and 36, and Mirkarimi

Thursday night's debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan takes on new significance with the race remaining a tight one following last week's debate between President Obama and Gov. Romney. Meanwhile former President Clinton was in California to stump for Democratic congressional candidates and President Obama made a fundraising stop in San Francisco.

For the first time in more than thirty years, Californians will decide whether to abolish the death penalty, replacing it with life imprisonment without parole. Proposition 34 advocates say repealing the penalty will save the state $100 million annually in the first few years. Proposition 36 would revise the state's harsh three strikes law to impose a life sentence only when a new felony conviction is serious or violent.

San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi returned to work on Wednesday after a nearly nine-hour hearing Tuesday and a vote by four members of the Board of Supervisors to reinstate him. Mirkarimi was suspended without pay by Mayor Ed Lee for official misconduct after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of false imprisonment stemming from an altercation with his wife, Eliana Lopez. District Attorney George Gascon has called for the sheriff to forfeit oversight of issues related to domestic abuse in the department and efforts to recall him are already underway.

Fri, October 05, 2012

Esta Soler, Mother of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994

In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness month, Belva Davis interviews Esta Soler, founder of San Francisco-based Futures without Violence. Soler has been a leader in the international movement to prevent violence against women and children, and was recently honored by the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium for her work.

Fri, October 05, 2012

News Panel: Presidential Debate, Proposition 33, and more

The presidential candidates hit the campaign trail with Gov. Romney picking up momentum after his strong debate performance Wednesday night. President Obama returns to the Golden State this weekend with a fundraising stop in the Bay Area on October 8.

While California is not expected to be in play for the presidential election, there are several close congressional races here that could tip the scales for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Gov. Brown signed a flurry of bills over the weekend -- ranging from immigration to corporate taxation -- and wielded his veto pen to make a case for Proposition 30, a measure that would raise additional taxes to prevent further cuts in public education. Proposition 33, also on the November ballot, would allow insurance companies to set prices based on a driver's history of insurance coverage.

Fri, September 28, 2012

Heat and Harvest

Like what you see in the supermarket produce section? Enjoy, because things may be changing there -- the prices, even the mix of available fruits, nuts and veggies. Long acknowledged as "the nation's salad bowl," California's farm belt is facing some thorny challenges from our changing climate: rising temperatures, an uncertain water supply and more abundant pests that threaten multi-billion-dollar crops. The half-hour documentary Heat and Harvest, a co-production of KQED and the Center for Investigative Reporting, examines these threats and some potential solutions.

Fri, September 21, 2012

News Panel: Prop. 32/San Jose Crime/Public Power For San Francisco/Hetch Hetchy

Proposition 32 on the November ballot would prohibit employee paycheck deductions from being used for political purposes. Opponents of the ban, including the California Teachers Union, say it is an unfair attempt to restrict their influence, while not placing limitations on spending by wealthy business interests or individuals.

San Jose, long one of the safest large cities in California, has recently experienced a spike in crime. This week, Police Chief Chris Moore announced his unexpected resignation in January, after two years on the job.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has given approval to pave the way for clean public power in San Francisco. Residents would be automatically enrolled in the plan and charged a higher rate than for PG&E, unless they opt out. A similar system is currently in place in Marin County.

If approved by San Francisco voters, Measure F would begin a planning phase for draining and restoring the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir to park land. It is supported by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. Opponents, including San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Senators Boxer and Feinstein, say it is a necessary water source and that the region cannot afford the costs.

Fri, September 14, 2012

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee joins Belva Davis to discuss his first year in office along with November ballot measures and his role in President Obama's re-election campaign.

Fri, September 14, 2012

News Panel: Pension Reform, "Amazon Tax," and more

As the legislative session winds down, Gov. Jerry Brown has been sent hundreds of bills, approving an overhaul of the state's underfunded pension system by changing retirement benefits for new employees. Gov. Brown is also making his case to voters for approval of his tax measure on the November ballot. On September 15, the so-called Amazon tax kicks in, requiring hundreds of online retailers to charge sales tax to California consumers. It is estimated to boost tax revenue in the state by as much as $300 million annually, and may set the stage for federal legislation.

Fri, September 14, 2012

Afghan Culture in Little Kabul

In the three decades since the 1979 Soviet invasion, several waves of refugees from war-torn Afghanistan have sought a new life in the United States. Northern California is home to the largest population of Afghans in the country, thousands of whom have settled in the Bay Area. As Scott Shafer discovers, the area of Fremont known as "Little Kabul" has become a cultural haven for a growing number of Afghan artists and musicians.

Also on KQED.org this week ...

Truly CA: Everything Comes from the Streets
Latino Heritage Month

KQED proudly celebrates the diversity of our community by commemorating Latino Heritage Month. During September, KQED Public TV 9 and KQED 88.5 FM schedule programs that focus on Latino themes and issues.

Summer Arts Guide
San Francisco Opera on KQED

Get your front row seat at one of the leading opera companies in the world! Shot in brilliant HD, the fifth season of San Francisco Opera's acclaimed series brings you four spectacular productions performed by world-class singers.

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