Joshua Sirotiak | KALW

Joshua Sirotiak


Joshua Sirotiak is a native of Chicago and Cleveland who moved to San Francisco in 2001. He's a working tuba player, a father, and a self-proclaimed nerd who’s worked as a line cook, general contractor’s apprentice, substitute teacher, camp counselor, bar back and bouncer, and has spent nearly a decade and a half working for one upscale natural foods grocer in particular. 

In 2013, while living in Chicago, Joshua participated in a seven week program run by (an affiliate of WBEZ) where he produced a ten minute piece about Second Line music and culture. Currently primarily employed (musically) in Balkan Brass and Second Line styles, Joshua has toured across the United States and Europe for audiences from all walks of life ranging in size from two to 20,000. He currently lives and works in Sacramento, and his reporting interests include music as a lens into culture, race in the United States, technological solutions to climate change, and environmental sustainability/justice.

Joshua is a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020.

AidanHowe /


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

San Jose’s Measure H aims to generate about $15 million annually by increasing taxes at the city’s two card rooms.

Dllu / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4. / cropped


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Measure K would authorize San Francisco to develop and own up to 10,000 units of affordable rental housing. Its supporters call it a “green light for social housing.” That means housing for a mix of income groups, owned or financed by the government.  But Measure K is just an authorization: a separate citywide measure would need to pass in order to provide the funding. That’s Proposition I.


Two Bay Area counties have moved from purple to red under the Governor’s new color coded system for monitoring Covid.


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.  


EDITOR'S NOTE: Since the story was originally published, San Francisco's Office of the Controller increased the estimated annual cost of creating the Inspector General's Office from $1.4-$1.8 million up to $2-$2.5 million.

Earlier this year, George Floyd’s killing while in police custody prompted greater focus on police oversight and accountability nationwide. Here in San Francisco, Measure D aims to investigate misconduct within the Sheriff’s Department. / This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

On Monday, the California Department of Public Health released details for how elementary schools could re-open for in-person instruction.

Sanfranman59 / Creative Commons


This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

Basically, Proposition 19 would allow homeowners to move into a nicer place without their tax bill ballooning.

JGKlein / Creative Commons

This is a 2-minute summary of what’s on the ballot. Click here to listen to them all.

California’s Proposition 15 is an amendment to the state constitution that would update how the state assesses property taxes. 

redlegsfan21 con flickr / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

On Monday, the Bay Area had its first major sporting event since the pandemic began. Yesterday the A’s played the Giants in their first spring training game at the Oakland Coliseum.

Mike Miller / Martinez News-Gazette

On Sunday night, police in Martinez arrested a local man for brandishing a loaded gun at a group of people gathered near a Black Lives Matter mural. 

Soozarty1 / Flickr / Creative Commons

The Oakland City Council is conducting its mid-cycle budget review today, and community groups are calling for that budget to go less to the police and more to social services that support black communities.

Pi.1415926535 / Obtained from Wikipedia under Creative Commons licensing

 On Tuesday afternoon BART officials released a statement, saying that another of their employees has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Daniel Arauz / Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution

Local curfew orders remain in effect throughout much of the Bay Area, as the region deals with the demonstrations and civil unrest sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Newsom’s Budget Criticized / Flush Your Pipes! / LA County Reopening / McDonald’s Workers Strike In Oakland

Heather Martino / KPCC

Superintendents of six California school districts sent a letter to state legislators on Monday after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would cut school budgets by $7 billion.

Counties Entering Phase Two / Paid Sick Leave in Oakland / Tesla Dispute Resolved / Tech Companies Encouraging Working From Home

Lance Yamamoto

Last night Oakland City Council unanimously passed a measure that gives workers up to 80 hours of paid sick leave during the pandemic.

Bid To Block Stimulus Package For Immigrants Denied /Yuba City Mall Defies Stay At Home Order / Uber Joins Lyft, AirBnB In Significant Job Cuts

Uber Laying Off 3,700 Employees

May 6, 2020
Richard Drew / Associated Press

Ride hailing company Uber is announcing a significant reduction in its workforce today.

Kevin N. Hume / San Francisco Examiner

Students in San Francisco’s public schools have some new clarity regarding their grades during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some Businesses Allowed To Reopen As Shelter-In-Place Extends / San Francisco Unified Adopts New Grading Policy For Remainder Of School Year / Funding Needed To Continue Meal Program For Seniors / California To Require Automakers To Sell More Zero-Emission Trucks

Ariel DeAndrea is an artist whose paintings combine technical elements of Photorealism with her own surrealistic stylization.  Originally from San Francisco, she now lives and works in Vallejo. Ariel shares a song that speaks to the complexity of one boy’s journey.

Want to share your own story of a significant song? Click here to find out how.

Disaster Assistance For Immigrants Rate Increases In SFMTA Budget Proposal / California DMV Extends Driver's License Validity

Liz Hafalia / SF Chronicle

Worried about driving on an expired license during a pandemic? Well, The DMV is extending the validity of all expiring driver’s licenses through May 31st this year. 

Coronavirus Caseload / Sheltering San Francisco's Homeless Residents / Santa Cruz Closes Beaches And Parks 

Kevin N. Hume / San Francisco Examiner


On Tuesday San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors met to address issues affecting essential workers and the homeless population during the coronavirus crisis.


Miriam Locke

Walter Parenteau and his housemates run an all-volunteer soup kitchen in San Francisco’s Mission District. Their goal is to provide hospitality for anyone who walks through the door, but how are they dealing with the changes that the coronavirus brings? 

Credit: Andrew Reed/EdSource

According to a letter sent yesterday by California’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, the state’s students should not expect to return to campus this academic year.

Noise Grunt / Flickr / Creative Commons

Six Bay Area counties announced extending school closures today. They are now tentatively scheduled to remain closed through May 1.

Jan Roletto / Wikimedia Commons

Hey Area is where we find answers to questions you ask. Brit Byrd wanted to know, “Why does San Francisco have the Farallon Islands? They’re thirty miles off the coast, but they’re legally part of San Francisco. What’s up with that?” 

An update from KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020:

“Find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

“A person’s work need not define them.”

These two ideas, possibly in conflict with each other, kick around in my head a lot.