Bay Area News

A Caltrain train pulls into the Palo Alto station.

Arguing that the South Bay’s transportation system is breaking down, the urban planning think tank SPUR released an ambitious proposal for the region Thursday. In its Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan, SPUR proposes improvements to Highway 101 and calls for Caltrain to quintuple its ridership, expand service into downtown San Francisco and upgrade infrastructure. The SPUR report follows the Trump Administration’s decision last week to suspend $647 million in funds for Caltrain’s electrification, a move the rail agency says will hinder its ability to make needed improvements. We discuss the future of Caltrain.

The Caltrain Corridor Vision Plan (Spur.org)

A law enforcement official runs towards a massive fire in a residential neighborhood September 9, 2010 in San Bruno, California.

A federal judge sentenced PG&E Thursday to a $3 million fine, court-appointed oversight of its gas system and five years of probation. In August, PG&E was convicted of violating federal pipeline safety regulations and obstructing a National Transportation Safety Board investigation into the 2010 San Bruno pipeline explosion that killed 8 people. The fine and the probation length were both the maximum allowed. We’ll discuss what the sentence means for PG&E and pipeline safety.

Firefighters inspect the Ghost Ship warehouse on December 3, 2016.

The Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland that killed 36 people was the deadliest structure fire in the United States in over a decade. In response to the fire, other cities like San Francisco are increasing their inspections and some Bay Area artist collectives are trying to bring their living spaces up to code to fend off evictions. We check in on the Bay Area’s creative spaces in the wake of the Ghost Ship fire.

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A real estate agent tours a home for sale during an open house May 4, 2010 in San Francisco, California.

A recent report from the California Association of Realtors shows pending sales in the Bay Area dipped 11.6 percent between October 2016 and October 2015.And for California as a whole, the number of properties receiving multiple offers was down for the seventh straight month, from 63 percent to 59 percent. We’ll get the latest data on the region’s housing market, including where home and rental prices are heading in 2017.

Texas-based ORCEM is proposing to convert the former General Mills plant in Vallejo into a grinding mill for cement production. The city is also mulling whether to allow a new deepwater shipping terminal at the same location

Orcem California’s proposal to turn the former General Mills plant in Vallejo into a cement mill has split the community. Out-of-work Vallejo residents and some city officials see the development as an opportunity to revive an aching local economy. But other residents and environmental groups fear that the proposed development would significantly increase smog and might be a disguised effort to transport coal through the city. Forum discusses the proposed project and hears from both sides of the debate.

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a u-haul truck is parked in the parking lot of an apartment building in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A report published last week by Oakland nonprofit Urban Habitat shows that the Bay Area is resegregating by race and class. In contrast to past patterns of “white flight” from city centers to suburbs, affluent residents are increasingly settling in the regional core, pushing-low income residents and communities of color to the suburban edges of the Bay Area. We talk with the author of the report about the population shift and its consequences, including unequal access to quality education, work opportunities and public transportation.

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Twitter logo

Judging by its popularity with presidential candidates, pop stars and journalists, Twitter seems to be alive and well. But according to a recent Bloomberg report, the San Francisco-based company is preparing to layoff several hundred employees as soon as this week after failing to find a buyer. In this hour of Forum, we’ll discuss the future of the company, which is set to release its earnings on Thursday morning.

traffic along the 101 I280 interchange

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) released their annual report on freeway congestion last week. The report confirms what many Bay Area commuters already know — that traffic has gotten worse. Across the Bay Area congestion is up 22 percent from 2014, with stretches between the South Bay and San Francisco dominating the top 10 list. We’ll discuss what slow downs are the worst and what solutions, if any, are on the horizon.

More Information:

Fresh Data Show Big Jump in Freeway Congestion for 2015 (mtc.ca.gov)

Bonnie Altwerger sits for a job interview with Jessica Cortes as she looks for part time work at Carter's Children's Wear during a job fair at Sawgrass Mills on October 11, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.

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

a san francisco police car

San Francisco police need to better train officers to avoid racial bias, according to a report from a blue ribbon commission created by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón. The panel, formed after revelations that officers sent racist and homophobic text messages, blamed a “code of silence” that allows bias to go unreported. The report also found that African Americans are disproportionately  stopped and searched by police in San Francisco. Forum discusses the findings and criticisms of the report.

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Panel Finds SFPD ‘Code of Silence,’ Outsized Influence of Police Union (KQED News)

People vote in the California primary on June 7, 2016 at City Hall in San Francisco, California.

As part of KQED’s Election 2016 coverage, we’ll discuss the state’s primary election results, including how Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton fared. And we’ll spotlight some key Bay Area races and measures, including Measure AA, which sought funds to restore wetlands and appeared on ballots in all nine Bay Area counties.

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marsh, highway and development

On June 7, voters in the nine Bay Area counties will decide whether or not to pass a $12-a-year parcel tax aimed at combating the effects of rising sea levels in the region. Opponents of the tax don’t like that it charges individual homeowners the same amount as large corporations with coastal campuses. The measure requires 2/3 of all votes cast in order to pass. In this segment, we’ll dig into the details of the measure and hear from its supporters and critics.

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An exterior view of a Tesla showroom

A recent San Jose Mercury News investigation accused Tesla Motors of using grossly underpaid, overworked, foreign laborers to build a new facility. The report has exposed the potential abuse of simple business visas, which were used by the approximately 140 Eastern European workers subcontracted to Tesla. Forum discusses the investigation into Tesla and whether the misuse of visas, and the exploitation of foreign labor is widespread in Silicon Valley.

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a san francisco police car

Calls within City Hall for San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr to resign are mounting, following
a blue-ribbon panel’s finding this week that the department lacks transparency, engages in racial
profiling and exhibits bias in hiring. The report comes as the SFPD remains under fierce scrutiny
for multiple officer-involved shootings and racist and homophobic text exchanges between
officers. Suhr’s supporters, including Mayor Ed Lee, say that critics are putting politics ahead of
police reform. We discuss what’s next for the SFPD.

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