Angela Johnston | KALW

Angela Johnston

Eli Wirschafter

 

It’s a new day. Republicans no longer control all three branches of the federal government, and there’s no doubt that makes the vast majority of registered voters in the state of California happy. Our team here at KALW was up late covering the election live. KALW election coordinator Angela Johnston and news director Ben Trefny help us sift through some of the results.

 

cott Beale / Laughing Squid

 

It’s finally come. Today is the Election Day! Many people are saying it’s the most important election of our lifetimes. At the very least, it’s the most important election since, well, since the last one.

Angela Johnston

 

What’s a piece of functioning San Francisco infrastructure that’s over a hundred years old? The Golden Gate Bridge? The sewer system? Nope! It’s the Embarcadero Seawall.

Jeff Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

 


Angela Johnston

One of the most immediate threats to California’s water and agriculture infrastructure may not be a future drought. It may not be the big twin tunnels project, either. Right now, it's a huge, 20-pound swamp rat with bright yellow teeth — nutria.

Courtesy of filmmakers Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer


Angela Johnston / KALW News

It’s the last week of school at Bessie Carmichael Elementary on 7th and Harrison in the South of Market neighborhood. Photographer Janet Delaney and I are here to see someone we’ve been trying to get in touch with for months -- Bobbie Washington.

Janet Delaney // MACK Books

It’s been over 30 years since Janet Delaney walked around the SOMA with her view camera, photographing the businesses, people and daily life in the neighborhood before it drastically changed.

Angela Johnston

 

This November, voters in a handful of cities around the Bay Area will be voting on cannabis taxes.

Angela Johnston

It’s been just over a year since a number of fires devastated areas of Sonoma, Napa, and other northern counties. The Tubbs fire, which began in Calistoga, flattened over 4,000 homes and killed 22 people, making it the most destructive wildfire in California history. Now, homeowners are rebuilding, wineries are re-opening, and communities are picking up the pieces. KALW’s Ninna Gaensler-Debs and Angela Johnston reported on the fires a year ago. They join us for an update.

CCO Public Domian. Resized and cropped.

If you live in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, Alameda, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany, Emeryville, Piedmont, El Sobrante, and Kensington, listen up. You’ll be voting on Measure FF this November.

Creative Commons. Resized and cropped.

If you were asked to name a piece of San Francisco infrastructure that’s still in use after over a hundred years, what would you guess? The Golden Gate Bridge? Coit Tower? Nope! But if you guessed the Embarcadero Seawall, you’d be correct!

Creative Commons. Cropped and resized.

Proposition 3 is one of the handful of state bond measures we are voting on this November. This one has to do with water. And it may sound familiar.

Public domain

Proposition 1 is the Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act. If passed, it would authorize the sale of $4 billion in bonds to finance a bunch of existing low-income housing programs, build new, state-owned housing and match local housing trust funds dollar-for-dollar as they pilot new programs. One-quarter of this $4 billion would help veterans purchase homes, mobile homes and farms.

Bob White / Flickr / Creative Commons

The past month there have been debates over how to manage the water in the Delta — the Bay Area’s largest source of freshwater — and that's drawn a lot of attention from the state capitol. What it comes down to is whether more water should go to fish or to farms.

At the breakwater bordering a yacht club in San Francisco’s Marina, Kirk Lombard is carefully balancing on two algae-covered rocks. He’s holding a homemade bamboo fishing pole, poking and wiggling it into rocky crevices. A crowd of people watch nearby, anxious to see if he will get a bite.

Lombard is fishing, or technically poke-polling, for monkeyface eel. He calls himself a sea forager, and every other week offers this walking and fishing tour: a two-hour lesson on how to catch your own seafood from the Bay’s urban waters.

Angela Johnston / KALW News

 

One of the main reasons for the decline of the salmon population in the Russian River is the simple fact that humans live along it, work along it, growing marijuana, growing grapes, building houses . . . the list goes on. So, conservationists believe part of the solution is working with the people who live right along the water to create a better environment for the fish.

kgroovy / Flikr Creative Commons

 

The Shipyard is supposed to be San Francisco’s biggest redevelopment project since the 1906 earthquake. It’s slated to have affordable housing, office and retail space, and parks. But this year, the shipyard development has been infamously dubbed “The biggest case of eco fraud in US history.”

Cal OES

A massive wildfire that started over a week ago in the hills of Yolo and Napa counties is now 73 percent contained.

Steve Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons

Even though we are entering another summer drought-free, Governor Jerry Brown just signed two new water conservation bills into law. These laws will require permanent water conservation, regardless of whether or not California is in a drought.

KALW’s environment reporter Angela Johnston tells us more on AB 1668 and SB 606

"one-forty/three-sixty-five" by CC Flickr User Laura LaRose

 

The votes are in — or, most of them anyway, with some mailed-in ballots yet to be counted. And California voters have weighed in on state and local propositions as well as many elected offices.

Angela Johnston

Some Napa winemakers and environmentalists feel the Valley has reached its limit. They say too many vineyards are hurting the environment — but their solution is producing a divisive battle at the ballot box.

Stan Shebs / Wikimedia Commons

 

Fifty years ago, Napa Valley winemakers and community members wanted to protect the valley from housing and commercial development.

They declared agriculture — which in Napa Valley basically means grapes — the “highest and best use” of the land.

This paved way for the growth of the wine industry that currently coats the valley floor, and the tens of billions in profit the valley churns out each year.

But now some winemakers and environmentalists feel Napa Valley has reached its limit.

 

California’s recent six-year drought was the worst the region had experienced in over 500 years.

Water restrictions imposed by the state during the drought led many residents to start collecting water themselves, with buckets in their showers, rain barrels in the yard, or more complicated rainwater storage contraptions.

Homeowners who installed rainwater capture systems to conserve water may have had to pay higher property taxes as a result. That’s because constructing these systems can count as a property improvement.

 

California’s Proposition 70 is about cap-and-trade money, so at its core, it’s a proposition about how the state is addressing climate change.

 

That’s because cap-and-trade is a program designed to curb the use of greenhouse gases. Certain companies need to get permits for the greenhouse gases they create.

 

Image cropped and reused from Wikiemedia Commons

Over the past few decades, the San Francisco skyline has undergone a transformation. It's building up.

San Francisco now has over 100 buildings taller than 240 feet, and more are on the way. But many are being built on sandy, unstable ground, known for their high risk of behaving like quicksand during an earthquake.

 

Prop 68 is all about the environment. It’s known as the Parks, Environment, and Water Bond. 

 

And if it’s approved, it would collect over $4 billion for those issues.

 

Robert Huffstutter / Flikr / Creative Commons

 

The redevelopment of the Hunters Point Shipyard is slated to be San Francisco’s biggest redevelopment project since the 1906 earthquake.

 

The Shipyard is a former naval base and nuclear-weapons testing lab — and the cleanup of radioactive materials used there has been ongoing for decades.

 

Sulfur CC-BY-SA-3.0 Wikimedia Commons

 

This is part of our series  “Persistent Poison: Lead’s Toxic Legacy in the Bay Area,” an in-depth look at childhood lead poisoning in the region.

Marissa Ortega-Welch

Concerned about lead? Resources vary by city and county, but here are a few starting points.

Testing your child’s blood for lead

If you have private insurance or Medi-Cal, ask your primary care provider. All health insurance plans are required to pay for the blood lead test.

If you are uninsured, contact your local county health system to enroll in a county health care program.

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