CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 19, 2014 |
The walls of Alice Herman's home are covered in photographs. Herman and Sylvia Purdue, her partner of 45 years, smile in scenes from birthdays and hospital rooms. In black-and-white photos from their younger days, their hair is teased, their makeup flawless. After Purdue died a few years ago, Herman was left with two cats and enough money for two months' rent. Years of Purdue's hospital bills had chipped away their savings. Because Purdue died before the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act last summer, Herman could not receive Purdue's Social Security benefits.
April 15, 2014 |
Most Californians can't afford their rent. The state's affordability crisis has worsened since the recession, as soaring home prices and rents outpace job and income growth. Meanwhile, government funds to combat the problem have evaporated. Local redevelopment agencies once generated roughly $1 billion annually for below-market housing across California, but the roughly 400 agencies closed in 2012 to ease a state budget crisis. In addition, almost $5 billion from state below-market housing bonds, approved by voters last decade, is nearly gone.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 14, 2014 |
SACRAMENTO -- Senate leader Darrell Steinberg on Monday outlined a new proposal for funding affordable housing, transportation upgrades and bullet train construction with money from California's cap-and-trade program. The program, approved by the Legislature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generates revenue by forcing companies to pay fees when their carbon dioxide emissions exceed state limits. Steinberg's proposal is a shift from an idea the Sacramento Democrat floated earlier this year -- transforming part of the program into an additional gas tax. The senator admitted that plan "wasn't very popular," so he dropped efforts to change the program and is focusing on how to spend the money already being generated.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 2014 |
Dozens of people shared only three showers in the building that Patricia McDowell called home for the last 2 1/2 years. Roaches skittered across the floor, she said, and lights went out and stayed out. In recent months, McDowell said she had to run an extension cord to another room to keep electricity going. But when the Los Angeles Fire Department told McDowell and dozens of other tenants that they had to clear out of the building at 5700 S. Hoover St., citing dangerous conditions, she panicked.
March 17, 2014 |
Lourdes was 69 years old when I first met her in 2012. She was living next to a bus stop on a busy four-lane street in front of a Silver Lake supermarket. Lourdes had claimed the spot three years earlier, after she was rousted from her encampment in Griffith Park. Before that, she'd lived in her 1973 Toyota, but it was eventually impounded because of overdue parking tickets. Lourdes was one of the folks we call "chronically homeless. " She'd been surviving on the city's margins for 20 years after losing her low-cost housing because of gentrification.
January 24, 2014 |
SAN FRANCISCO - It's the kind of backlash that Marc Benioff could never have imagined when he started the city's largest technology company 15 years ago in a Telegraph Hill apartment, some 30 miles north of Silicon Valley. By starting a business software firm that would create jobs in the city and donate 1% of its profit to charity, Benioff believed he was building a company that reflected San Francisco's progressive ideals. And he says he's proud to have been a catalyst for the city's tech economy that has since grown to 2,000 companies.