On the surface, Paul English’s story resembles that of many successful tech entrepreneurs: awkward software engineer turned billionaire. But author Tracy Kidder’s “A Truck Full of Money” goes beyond that stereotype and digs into English’s complicated relationship with money and his day-to-day life with bipolar disorder. Nearly 35 years after Kidder’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, “The Soul of A New Machine,” examined the world of computer hardware, Forum talks to Kidder about Paul English and the new age of tech entrepreneurs.
Many analysts predict that Monday’s night debate could be the defining moment of the presidential election, bringing together for the first time the wildly divergent styles of veteran politician Hillary Clinton and maverick campaigner Donald Trump. Heading into the debate, a Bloomberg Poll has the candidates each receiving 46 percent in a head-to-head competition and Trump edging out Clinton 43 to 41 percent when third-party candidates are included. We’ll check in with political commentators about who performed well and who fell flat during the highly anticipated match up.
In Mountain View, where nearly 60% of residents are renters, the average monthly rent jumped more than 50% from 2011 to 2015. In response, advocates in many small Bay Area cities, including Mountain View, Burlingame and San Mateo, have put rent control measures on November’s ballot. Forum debates these measures and discusses what it means that campaigns for rent control — normally found in large urban areas — are migrating to the suburbs.
San Francisco politics are rarely dull, and this election year is no exception. Voters will weigh in on a whopping 25 ballot measures covering hot-button issues like homelessness, public transit and education. In this hour of Forum, we talk with some local political journalists about the big measures and races. We’ll also discuss what it all means for Mayor Ed Lee, a divided Board of Supervisors and the future of the city.
S.F. Measure Q Would Ban Tents On City Sidewalks (Forum archives)
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.
- “Right to Vote? Wrong.” (Sierra Club article by Ari Berman)
- New Voting Restrictions in Place for 2016 Presidential Election (Brennan Center for Justice)
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.
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.
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.