Audio Academy 2020 | KALW

Audio Academy 2020

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California lawmakers returned to work today after an extended summer recess. Officials were originally scheduled to resume the session on July 13 but postponed their return due to the pandemic.

Daniel Arauz / Wikimedia Commons


The Oakland City Council recently approved the city’s mid-cycle budget, which goes into effect tomorrow. Though it fell short of calls to defund the Oakland Police Department, it did move roughly 3% of OPD’s budget, $14.3 million, to alternative safety measures. 

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The National Weather Service issued a red flag fire warning for parts of the Bay Area on Sunday. The warning runs through 8:00 p.m. Monday, June 29 and covers mountain areas in Marin, Sonoma and Napa counties.

John Taylor


John Taylor, also known as One Shot Johnny, is a mobile butcher. He’s always considered himself essential. But as some of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks have forced some large slaughterhouses to temporarily close, John has never been busier. In this installment of "The Essentials," John gives KALW's Victor Tence an intro to mobile butchery. 

Click the play button above to listen to this story.

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Five Bay Area counties should be forced to repay millions to a state education fund, according to the California Department of Finance. What was once a windfall for several Bay Area counties may now be a curse as California seeks to reclaim the millions in the midst of a COVID-19 induced fiscal nightmare.

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The California Judicial Council voted Wednesday to end a policy setting the baseline bail at $0 for people accused of nonviolent crimes.

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Muni tweeted, Tuesday, that it wouldn’t carry officers to demonstrations protesting police brutality anymore. The police union tweeted back, telling Muni officials “to lose our number” and to look elsewhere for help when it comes to fare evasion and removing unwanted passengers. So San Francisco agencies — let’s settle down and figure out what you can actually do here.


What a long strange trip it’s been.

If that sounds like a graduation speech cliche, it’s because it is. The 2020 Audio Academy is drawing to a close, and when I take stock around me the trip only seems to be growing longer and more strange.

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The Mayor's Office of San Francisco announced a new program to issue temporary outdoor-dining permits to restaurants.


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.

Bay Area Policymakers Respond To Calls For Police Reform

Jun 9, 2020
Gage Skidmore / Flickr / Flickr

Around the Bay Area and the state, lawmakers and police departments are starting to consider changes to their use-of-force policies.

When I first started writing this, my focus was on how sheltering-in-place and COVID-19 had upended my Audio Academy experience. That feels so long ago.

Wikimedia Commons


COVID-19 has spread to San Quentin State Prison, where over a dozen people incarcerated there have now been diagnosed with the virus.

CDC / Unsplash


Summer may have just begun but parents and students around the Bay are already looking forward to returning to school and some sense of normal this fall. And it’s official, normal’s going to be different.


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.

Peter Miller / Flickr Creative Commons / Cropped


A federal appeals court on Wednesday said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shouldn’t have approved a weedkiller called dicamba.


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This new budget is a balancing act. One that needs to bridge a $246 million dollar deficit. In order to get there, the city will withdraw half of the general fund reserve and reduce funding for capital projects.

Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez / KQED



National outrage over the police-related death of George Floyd continues into a second week. In San Francisco, some are ignoring city wide curfews in peaceful protest.

Yesterday, around 4 p.m., about 50 protesters gathered at San Francisco City Hall. Surrounded by police officers, they chanted, "Black lives matter!" and "no justice, no peace, defund the police!”

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.

Victor Tence / KALW

District 4 Supervisor Gordon Mar stood on a sand dune at Ocean Beach as he led a gathering crowd of protestors in a chant. He called the march, which began at the intersection of Sloat and Great Highway, the first of its kind. 

Office of Rep. Barbara Lee /


Around 4:00 p.m. Monday, protesters gathered in front of Oakland Technical High School on Broadway. Tupac blared on loud speakers as they prepared to march in memory of George Floyd and against police violence.

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.

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Tensions between local law enforcement and people protesting the death of George Floyd continued to escalate through last night and this morning. 

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Santa Clara’s top health official told the county board of supervisors, Tuesday, that statewide changes to shelter-in-place create a significant risk of coronavirus spread.

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Earlier this year, the Governor made it clear he wanted to close one state prison in the next five years. Now, a revised budget plan proposes the closure of two, in three years. Either way, this would be the first California prison to be shuttered in more than two decades.

Ben Trefny / KALW

My last day in the station was March 9th. People were talking about how easy their commutes were. I don’t think the students were in school at Burton High where KALW is located, but honestly, I don’t remember. At one point the fire alarm went off; we all grabbed our computers and ran outside to continue working at the picnic table. Later that afternoon I opened the door to the school hallway and the smell of ammonia was heavy in the air.

Ingrid Taylar / Flickr Creative Commons

The Spare the Air season normally begins on May 4. But the district said at that time, so few people were driving because of shelter in place that the air quality was actually really good.

Now as stay at home orders relax. More people are driving. 

TJ Gehling / Flickr Creative Commons


Over the holiday weekend, there was a back and forth about whether or not places of worship should reopen right now. 

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.