I spent a lot of time this year learning about how gentrification and changing economics have pushed many gay people out of San Francisco's Castro neighborhood. So I was immediately interested in this story about the historic Third Baptist Church and how residents and businesses in the historically black Fillmore District have been struggling to preserve the neighborhood.
The church, which was born out of necessity in 1852, was designated a historic landmark in November. But its attendance is dropping, and many of those who do still come commute from the East Bay or ever farther away because they can't afford to live in the neighborhood.
As residents leave, black-owned businesses have suffered, and many have closed. As longtime churchgoer Lois Carmack-Winder put it, "African-Americans can no longer live in San Francisco. Families with children can no longer live in the city. … We’ll be like the dinosaur. We’re going to become extinct."
Starting on Jan. 1, adults 21 and older will legally be able to buy recreational marijuana in California. But it's not that simple. My KQED colleagues and I have spent weeks trying to nail down just what exactly is going to be legal in different parts of the state and what it all means for Californians.
Legalized weed may be hogging all the attention, but it's far from the only change coming to California's laws in the new year. Our politics reporters did a great roundup of the new laws, and a few that really caught my eye were:
A new real estate transaction fee to fund affordable housing.
Enhanced Miranda rights for kids 15 and younger who must be allowed to consult legal counsel before waiving their right to silence during interrogation.
No guns on public or private K-12 school grounds.
Expanded maternity and paternity leave for employees of small companies.
Middle and high schools with low-income student populations must provide free tampons and menstrual pads in their restrooms.
While much of the coverage of the ongoing #MeToo movement has rightly focused on the stories of abuse and harassment and the systemic problems in our society and institutions that have allowed them to take place, some intriguing side stories have also emerged.
Two California state lawmakers have resigned this year following allegations of sexual misconduct, and special elections will be held to elect their replacements. Both lawmakers served in Los Angeles County, which will have to shell out millions to make those special elections happen.
This is the kind of survey result that can stop me in my tracks. More than a quarter of California kids between 12 and 17 could be gender noncomforming? I needed to know more.
Thankfully, KQED Science's Jon Brooks, who has been covering gender issues in California for more than year, took a deeper look at the results and found them to be more complex than just a simple percentage. He breaks down how researchers arrived at that shocking statistic, the different terminology they used (gender noncomforming vs. transgender being particularly important) and what that means for kids in California.
Before you go...
Could tiny homes be part of the solution to the Bay Area's housing crisis?