Previously on Forum

In the past six years, 22 states have passed new voting restrictions, including requiring identification at the polls and banning felons from voting. Journalist Ari Berman says voters are about to head to the ballot box with fewer rights than when Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act over 50 years ago. The author of “Give Us the Ballot” talks with Forum about the history of voting rights in America and why the current wave of voting restrictions predominately affects youth, poor people and minorities.

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The stereotypical image of a hula dancer often features a woman in a grass skirt on a beach. But Patrick Makuakāne says that’s a far cry from 21st-century hula. The Hawaii-raised and San Francisco-based hula master’s shows are elaborate stage productions weaving in everything from opera and electronic music to ’90s pop. His newest show, “The Natives Are Restless,” looks at the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the native resistance that followed. He and his dance troupe, Na Lei Hulu, are also the subject of a new book by the same title, by local author Constance Hale. She and Makuakāne join us to talk about the evolution of hula and what it means to be Hawaiian in the 21st century.

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As part of KQED’s election 2016 coverage, we discuss California Proposition 51, which would authorize the state to issue $9 billion in bonds for K-12 and community college construction projects.  Proponents say it has been ten years since the last statewide school bond, and that it provides much-needed upgrades to public school facilities. Critics say it’s a giveaway to developers and provides no oversight to ensure the bond money is spent right.

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KQED Complete Election Coverage

Earlier this week New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet signaled a shift in the paper’s approach to campaign coverage: “We have decided to be more direct in calling things out when a candidate actually lies,” he told Quartz. His comments came in the wake of Donald Trump’s press conference where the GOP candidate reversed course and said he now believes that President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. For her part, Hillary Clinton has frustrated reporters with her lack of accessibility. In this hour, we’ll talk about how the mainstream media is struggling with and evolving in response to an unusual election cycle.

Ann Patchett’s writing has covered a wide landscape of topics, from the romance between hostages and their captors in “Bel Canto” to the painful toll of her friend’s cancer and heroin addiction in the memoir “Truth and Beauty.” Patchett’s newest novel, “Commonwealth,” is loosely based on her own family history, as six stepsiblings struggle to heal from the trauma of their childhoods. Patchett discusses what happens when an author turns the lens on herself, her thoughts on feminism and writing, and why she identifies more as an independent bookseller than a famous author.

Today’s cities face a growing number of problems: income inequality, a lack of affordable housing, climate change and terrorist threats, to name a few. But according to urban planner Jonathan F.P. Rose, a more thoughtful approach to planning would allow cities to develop viable solutions to those challenges. In his new book, “The Well Tempered City,” Rose looks at lessons that can be learned from past civilizations and lays out a five-part approach for how cities can be more egalitarian and resilient.

California is the hardest state for part-time workers to find full-time jobs, according to Labor Department data from 2014. Measure E on San Jose’s November ballot would require local businesses with 35 or more employees to offer extra hours to part-timers before hiring more workers. Opponents say the measure will punish small businesses and kill jobs. We’ll debate the proposal as part of NPR’s “A Nation Engaged” project, which this week asks: “What can we do to create economic opportunity for more Americans?”

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KQED Complete Election Coverage

Rose Pak was called the “godmother of Chinatown,” “the most powerful woman in San Francisco” and, perhaps most often, a “power broker.” That last was a term she didn’t like. “If I was white,” she said, “they’d call me a civic leader.” Pak’s many friends and allies — from San Francisco’s political leaders to the low-income seniors, immigrants and other outsiders whose causes she championed — are mourning her death this week. We’ll discuss the controversial leader’s life and legacy.


  • Scott Shafer, senior editor, KQED’s California Politics and Government desk
  • Willie Brown, former mayor, San Francisco; served for over 30 years in the CA legislature; columnist, San Francisco Chronicle
  • Gordon Chin, director, San Francisco’s Chinatown Community Development Center; author, “Building Community, Chinatown Style”

Highlights from Rose Pak’s 2013 Forum Interview

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Bomb attacks over the weekend in New York and New Jersey have renewed focus on the national security positions of presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. On Monday, Clinton slammed Trump’s campaign rhetoric and said Trump is being used as a “recruiting sergeant” for terrorists and called for a surge in intelligence. Meanwhile Trump called for a radical departure from the current administration’s anti-terror policies but not offer any specifics. We’ll talk to NPR’s national security correspondent David Welna about where the candidates stand on the issue of national security.

In 1974, Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, was kidnapped from her Berkeley apartment by a radical political group known as the Symbionese Liberation Army. In the year and a half that followed, Patty Hearst the hostage became “Tania” the revolutionary, committing crimes on behalf of her supposed captors until her eventual arrest in 1975. New Yorker writer and CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin covers Hearst’s bizarre saga in his new book, “American Heiress.” We’ll talk to Toobin about Hearst’s kidnapping, her trial and the still debated implications of the case.

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40 Years Ago: Patty Hearst Kidnapped in Berkeley (KQED News)

Regular citizens armed with little more than cell phones can transform scientific research, according to Bay Area writer and environmentalist Mary Ellen Hannibal. Citizen scientists, amateurs who take part in scientific endeavors, are tracking sea star die-offs along the Pacific coast and monitoring bird migrations in the Central Valley. They’re also part of a long tradition of amateur researchers, from Thomas Jefferson to Ed Ricketts. Hannibal joins Forum to talk about the role everyday people can play in scientific research and about her new book, “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction.”

Projects Mentioned by Mary Ellen Hannibal

Projects Mentioned by Listeners

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Read an excerpt of “Citizen Scientist: Searching for Heroes and Hope in an Age of Extinction”  (KQED Science)

As part of KQED’s Election 2016 coverage, we’ll discuss California’s Proposition 53. The measure would require voter approval for any public works project using more than $2 billion in revenue bonds, which are repaid with funds generated by the project. Currently, voter approval is only needed for general obligation bonds, which are repaid from general tax money. Proponents say Proposition 53 safeguards against bureaucrats  running up state debt for pet projects. Opponents say the measure would make it even harder to achieve much-needed infrastructure improvements in California.

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KQED’s Complete Election Coverage

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