Sarah Lai Stirland | KALW

Sarah Lai Stirland

Associate News Producer

Sarah Lai Stirland is a freelance journalist and editor living in the South Bay. Her reporting background is in technology, science writing, law and policy. For the past few years, she's written about issues related to aging.

She has a wide range of interests, and one of her developing ones is child development and parenting. She's originally from Hong Kong and England.

Sarah was a fellow in KALW's Audio Academy class of 2020. She's now an associate news producer.

Sarah Lai Stirland

It’s around 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning at the 2200 block of the Wood Street homeless encampment in West Oakland.

Chris Hunkeler / Creative Commons

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

Measure V seeks to renew a tax on utility bills paid by households in several of Alameda County's unincorporated areas.

Jericho / Wikimedia Commons, used under CC BY 3.0 / cropped

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

San Francisco Measure L is more popularly known as the “overpaid executive tax.”

Here’s how it would work: Starting in 2022, if a San Francisco-based company’s highest-paid employee makes between 100 to 200 times the median salary of the company's local workforce, then the city would levy a point one percent fee of the company’s total revenues.

Mark Potterton / Unsplash

In what’s seen as a win for the state’s new streamlined permitting process, the city of Los Altos has decided to allow a controversial new mixed-use building to move forward. 

KP Tripathi / Creative Commons

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


Local government leaders are aiming to soften COVID-19’s blow to the economy by overhauling the city’s tax structure.

Joe Moore / Creative Commons

Muni trains in San Francisco will start running again this Saturday with significant changes. Advocates for the disabled say that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency hasn’t done enough to accommodate them.

YouTube broadcast

California appears to be flying somewhat blind as it battles rising rates of COVID-19.

shibuya246 / Creative Commons

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

Proposition 18 proposes to allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary election if the voter will turn 18 by the time of the general election.

Street Sense Media | Photo by Rodney Choice / Creative Commons

Homeless people in the East Bay may be entitled to compensation for belongings confiscated during unannounced cleanup sweeps.

Sarah Lai Stirland

Santa Clara County officials on Tuesday issued some requirements and recommendations for reopening schools.

The county did not commit to a firm date for opening K-12 school campuses.

But in a guidance document, the public health department said that schools should prioritize in-person instruction along with strict safety protocols.

Sarah Lai Stirland

Arios13 / Creative Commons

If you live in San Mateo, and want to eat inside at a restaurant, work out at the gym or get a long-needed haircut, there’s good news: Sometime later this week, you’re likely to be able to do all those things.

That’s because the county’s Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow is expected to issue a revised and relaxed shelter-in-place order.

Sarah Lai Stirland

Bay Area residents have been holding significant protests all over the region in the past week. Here's the story of an important demonstration in Los Gatos that almost didn’t happen.

Steve Rhodes / Creative Commons

Both local and statewide government officials pressed ahead with police reform efforts on Monday amidst nationwide protests over the police homicide of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as systemic racism.

Alessio Jacona / Creative Commons

As Americans across the nation are protesting the police killing of George Floyd today, Facebook employees are staging a virtual walkout.


Workers Comp Bills Considered / Bay Area Budget Cuts / Churches Planning To Resume In-Person Services / Park Inequities

KP Tripathi / Creative Commons

The financial fallout from the pandemic has hit local governments hard. And some are already making major cuts.

San Francisco’s Deputy Budget Director Ashley Groffenberger said Wednesday that all city departments must cut their budgets by 10 percent in the next fiscal year and 15 the year after.

The cuts don’t apply to the Municipal Transportation Agency or the Public Utilities Commission because they generate their own revenues.

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 5/20/20, AM

May 20, 2020

Restaurants Survey Results / Employment Payments Coming … Sometime

COVID-19 Status Update / The Future For Restaurants

John Gillespie / Creative Commons

A big question looming over counties’ re-opening is how small businesses are going to operate.

A new survey from a San Francisco restaurant trade group finds that they can’t survive by doing takeout and deliveries alone.

Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday, 5/13/20, AM

May 13, 2020

California State Cancels In-Person Classes / University of California Proposes Suspension Of Standardized Test Requirement / Community Colleges Sue Education Secretary Betsy DeVos / New Guidelines For Reopening Restaurants / State Faces Scrutiny Over Contracts For Protective Equipment

California’s Impending Budget Shortfall / State Restrictions Loosened / Fremont’s Minimum Wage Postponement / San Francisco Addresses Homeless Crowds

Wikimedia Commons

Fremont lawmakers might postpone a scheduled increase in minimum wages set to take effect this July. They’re meeting next Tuesday to hash out the details.




Courtesy of Casey Kamali

May is mental health awareness month. It's an issue for people of all ages, including teenagers. According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24. And the rate is increasingA Los Gatos teen who experienced challenges of her own started a podcast to give her peers struggling with mental health issues a voice. 

This week, KALW aired one of the most ambitious stories I’ve ever attempted: The story of a 19-year-old high school student who had returned from the brink of suicide to create a local podcast that brings her peers together.

California Distributes Nearly 3 Million Surgical Masks With More On The Way / San Francisco Fails To Fill Hotel Rooms For Homeless Residents / Students Sue California State University and UC Systems / San Francisco's Folsom Street Fair Goes Virtual

New Study Suggests COVID-19 More Widespread Than Data Shows / San Francisco Provides Zip Codes With Testing Data / Monitoring Cases At Nursing Homes / Slow Streets Campaign To Launch In San Francisco / East Bay SPCA To Host Drive-Through Pet Food Pantry

Ben Margot / AP Photo

The California Department of Public Health published a statewide report this weekend breaking down the number of Covid-19 cases at skilled nursing facilities. 

Associated Press / AP Photo

Alameda County has issued new safety guidelines for assisted living facilities as the number of COVID 19 cases at nursing homes continues to rise.