San Francisco City Insider

This podcast has merged into Fifth & Mission, the flagship newscast of the San Francisco Chronicle. Please subscribe to Fifth & Mission on your favorite podcast app.Old description: From the back rooms of City Hall to the chaotic streets of downtown, the San Francisco City Insider provides insight into the biggest news stories and most pressing issues facing one of the most interesting cities in the world. Chronicle columnist Heather Knight hosts, with regular appearances from The San Francisco Chronicle’s City Hall team – Trisha Thadani and Dominic Fracassa. They ask the tough questions of our city’s leaders to find out what’s going right and what needs to change.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff on homelessness
Marc Benioff has been making headlines for his support of Prop. C to tax big businesses to raise money for homeless services — and for his scolding of other San Francisco CEOs for not doing the same. Heather Knight talked to him on the 61st story of the new Salesforce Tower.
18 min
San Francisco Fire Chief hangs up her helmet
Joanne Hayes-White is the first woman to ever hold the job and the longest serving big city fire chief in the country.
12 min
SF District Ten Candidate Shamann Walton
The former school board president has a lot of support from San Francisco and California political veterans.
20 min
SF District Ten Candidate Tony Kelly
Will voters support a self-described democratic socialist?
30 min
SF District Ten Candidate Theo Ellington
Ellington is the youngest candidate in this race and some question whether he has enough experience to run a district.
23 min
SF District Six Candidate Christine Johnson
A former planning commissioner with an engineering degree, Johnson is a self-described policy wonk, and the only one in the race with experience working in a city department.
21 min
SF District Six Candidate Sonja Trauss
Trauss is a prominent housing activist who started the YIMBY movement and is running to bring a pro-housing voice to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
22 min
SF District Six Candidate Matt Haney
The school board member is a progressive candidate running against two pro-housing moderates running a one-two ranked-choice voting strategy, and both have been endorsed by the mayor.
22 min
SF District Four candidate Trevor McNeil
The only candidate in the District Four race who would support a Navigation Center in the district.
24 min
SF District Four candidate Gordon Mar
Can this progressive candidate win over a district long held by moderates?
15 min
SF District Four candidate Jessica Ho
Can she win in a sector of the city where name recognition really counts?
17 min
SF District Two Candidate Schuyler Hudak
The political newcomer has centered her campaign around increasing services for the mentally ill on the city's streets.
24 min
SF District Two Candidate Catherine Stefani
Appointed by former SF Mayor Mark Farrell, the incumbent recounts what she's accomplished so far in office, and what she still wants to achieve.
21 min
SF District Two Candidate Nick Josefowitz
The BART director has pledged to reform City Hall by tackling the city's homelessness and affordability crises.
22 min
The front lines of San Francisco's mental healt...
A veteran of San Francisco General Hospital's psychiatric emergency room explains why the city's mental health system is so broken.
23 min
Debunking climate change deniers
Kevin Drew of the S.F. Department of the Environment and Jared Blumenfeld, formerly of the EPA, respond to tweets by climate change deniers — with facts.
29 min
Farewell to Chief of Staff Jason Elliott
Farewell to a four-time chief of staff: Jason Elliott, who served Mayors Ed Lee, London Breed, Mark Farrell and London Breed again, has just departed Room 200 to join Gavin Newsom’s campaign for governor. Elliott opens up about his last day working...
19 min
SF District Eight Supervisor Rafael Mandelman
One of San Francisco's newest supervisors sits down with Chronicle columnist Heather Knight and City Hall reporter Trisha Thadani to talk about what it will take to tackle the crisis of untreated mental illness on the city's streets, his thoughts on...
28 min
Emerge founder Andrea Dew Steele
Back in 2002, Andrea Dew Steele helped her friend, Kamala Harris, start a campaign for San Francisco District Attorney. Sixteen years later, Harris is a U.S. Senator with her eye on the White House and Steele’s Emerge, a training ground for women in...
21 min
The story behind San Francisco's "Invisible Men"
People walking to City Hall will be surprised to see 40 identical sculptures, each weighing more than 300 pounds, standing like soldiers just out front. Artist Zak Ove, an Englishman who’s the first black person to have art displayed in the plaza,...
12 min
San Francisco's homeless problem, explained
San Francisco Chronicle columnist Heather Knight talks with Jeff Kositsky, director of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, about why the city’s homeless problem doesn’t seem to get much better despite city officials spending...
35 min
Catching up with SF Mayor-elect London Breed
Now that she's clinched the race for the city's top job, San Francisco Mayor-elect London Breed is getting ready to bear down on the city's most pressing problems. After her July 11 inauguration, Breed plans to begin immediately working on solutions...
21 min
San Francisco has a new mayor: London Breed
The S.F. mayor's race has finally come to an end, and London Breed will be the first African American woman to be elected to the city's highest office. Former state Sen. Mark Leno conceded defeat after more than a week of suspense. Listen in as The...
14 min
2018 California Primary Election recap
In a special election night podcast, the San Francisco Chronicle politics team breaks down the 2018 California primary. Listen in as John Diaz, Heather Knight, Joe Garofoli, Dominic Fracassa and John Wildermuth analyze results from San Francisco, Bay...
29 min
Understanding SF's opioid epidemic with Dr. Phi...
San Franciscans have a lot of questions about the blatant, open-air injection drug use occurring on our sidewalks. Dr. Phillip Coffin, director of substance use research for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, has answers. In an...
26 min
Catching up with SF Mayor Mark Farrell
Mayor Mark Farrell has just a few weeks left in office, but says he’s determined to keep the “pedal to the metal” in accomplishing real change for San Francisco before his time in Room 200 is up. In an interview with Chronicle columnist Heather...
19 min
Beach Blanket Babylon in the age of President T...
Episode 6 of the On San Francisco podcast is an interview with Jo Schuman Silver, writer and producer of Beach Blanket Babylon, the silly, only-in-San Francisco stage production that’s celebrating its 45th anniversary. While President Donald Trump...
17 min
London Breed on the SF mayor's race
In The Chronicle's final installment of our mayoral profiles, we're talking with London Breed, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. She's gone from growing up as a poor kid in the city's Western Addition to ascending to the upper...
31 min
San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott
There were more than 31,000 reports of car break-ins in San Francisco in 2017, but police were only able to make arrests in 1.7 percent of cases. Police Chief Bill Scott explains to columnist Heather Knight why these crimes are so hard to tackle, and...
23 min
San Francisco mayoral candidate Angela Alioto
Angela Alioto is banking on her years of experience in San Francisco politics to separate her from the pack of mayoral hopefuls in the June 5 election. Her campaign has focused on her pledges to break through the despondency of the city’s...
18 min
SF mayoral candidate interview with Supervisor ...
San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim is known for big, bold ideas, only a fraction of which become reality at City Hall. But she’s centering her mayoral campaign on a very practical policy initiative: cleaning the city’s notoriously dirty streets....
14 min
SF mayoral candidate interview with Mark Leno
Progressive mayoral candidate Mark Leno has centered his campaign on a promise to "shake up City Hall." But can a veteran lawmaker like Leno, who served 14 years in the state Assembly and Senate as well as a stint as a city supervisor, convince voters...
24 min