Fifth & Mission

The flagship news podcast of the San Francisco Chronicle. Producer/host Cecilia Lei and director of news Demian Bulwa discuss the biggest stories of the day with Chronicle journalists and newsmakers from around the Bay Area. | Get full digital access to the Chronicle:

Best of Fifth & Mission: Photographing Homeless...
In this episode first published July 29, photographers Gabrielle Lurie and Jessica Christian discuss photographing homelessness during the Chronicle's 24-hour project. They talk about the challenges of photographing for 24 hours straight, keeping safe on the streets and making moving imagery under tough circumstances. We also learn about Jessica’s subject “Shorty,” and how he lives as a disabled homeless man on the streets of San Francisco.
30 min
BBQ in the Bay
In a region that has nearly every type of cuisine, good barbecue restaurants have been hard to find. That seems to be changing with an explosion of pop-ups and even some brick-and-mortars springing up in unexpected places. Can they thrive in the Bay?
27 min
Meet Mission Bay
Urban design critic John King explores the history of San Francisco's newest neighborhood, what went wrong in designing it and what he thinks of the Warriors' arena plopped in the middle of it
21 min
Broken Promises at the Hunters Point Shipyard
What led federal and city officials to back away from voter-demanded promises to completely clean radiological contamination and what is next for the nation’s most complex Superfund site? Note: An earlier edit of this episode contained an error about the timing of the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests. They began after World War II.
17 min
Esther Mobley on How to Drink Wine
The Chronicle’s wine critic shares her secrets and brings her spit bucket for a tasting session. Plus: How California vintners are adjusting to climate change, which threatens Cabernet Sauvignon, the state’s most important grape.
28 min
Oakland's Warehouse Scene After Ghost Ship
A crackdown on people living and making art in warehouses followed the deadly 2016 fire at an unsanctioned music event. But as Rachel Swan reports, bigger changes came as a result of another shift: the legalization of marijuana.
14 min
The Doctor Accused of Murder
Health reporter Erin Allday on Dr. Thomas McNeese Keller, the Santa Rosa physician who, already under investigation by the state medical board, has been charged with murder in the deaths of five patients who suffered opioid overdoses.
11 min
Justin Phillips on Black Culture in the Bay Area
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Justin Phillips talks to editor in chief Audrey Cooper about his new column on the African American experience in and around San Francisco.
18 min
How the Town Beats the City on Housing
Oakland has historically underproduced housing, but in 2019, it's on pace to finish about 2,000 more new units than San Francisco. Reporter J.K. Dineen talks about what's changed in the East Bay.
10 min
SF City Insider: An Epidemic of Untreated Menta...
Fifth & Mission presents an episode of the Chronicle podcast San Francisco City Insider. The city is compelling far fewer mentally ill people into mandated treatment. Columnist Heather Knight and City Hall reporter Dominic Fracassa discuss the rise in clearly untreated mental illness on San Francisco’s sidewalks.
15 min
Should San Francisco Buy PG&E's Power Lines?
The utility's wildfire-related bankruptcy has San Francisco looking to take over its power operation in the city. Reporters J.D. Morris and Dominic Fracassa talk about the opportunities and risks the multibillion-dollar move would present.
16 min
Swag: It’s Fun! It’s Free! It Works! It’s a Nig...
It’s a constant in the tech industry and has been for ages. The data says swag is an effective marketing tool, and sometimes the goodies are nice. But there’s a cost for the environment. Owen Thomas and Carolyn Said on “stuff we all get.”
10 min
Live Event: San Francisco Homelessness With May...
Editor in chief Audrey Cooper and homelessness reporter Kevin Fagan talk about highlights from the recent Chronicle Talks event with Mayor London Breed and a panel of homeless people and experts.
15 min
Salesforce Tower Light Show, Featuring ... YOU?
Reporter Melia Russell on new images atop Salesforce Tower. Starting this fall, the tower top will show snippets of city life that are recorded by cameras planted around San Francisco. The next version could feature a blurry image of you.
10 min
The Big Event: Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor of...
In this episode of the Chronicle podcast The Big Event, Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods tell Peter Hartlaub about creating one of the biggest hits of the podcast boom, which brings listeners inside San Quentin State Prison. Subscribe to The Big Event, your concierge to Bay Area culture, wherever you get Fifth & Mission.
36 min
California's Secret Automaker Deal
Alexei Koseff of the Chronicle's Sacramento bureau joins Audrey Cooper to talk about the state getting four carmakers to agree to cut emissions — a deal that puts California on a collision course with the Trump administration.
13 min
On the Streets With the Homeless
Kurtis Alexander, Nanette Asimov and Evan Sernoffsky talk about reporting for the Chronicle's multimedia project "One Day, One City, No Relief: 24 hours Inside San Francisco’s Homeless Crisis."
26 min
What We Know About the Gilroy Shooter
Why did a 19-year-old man gun down three people and wound a dozen more at the Gilroy Garlic Festival? Reporter Rachel Swan on the hunt for a motive, the search of the shooter's apartment and the trend of killers fueled by online hate.
11 min
Bay Curious: Your Questions on Homelessness
In a collaboration with the NPR podcast Bay Curious from KQED, Chronicle editor in chief Audrey Cooper and reporter Kevin Fagan join host Olivia Allen-Price to answer four key questions about the homeless from listeners and readers.
16 min
Horror at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Reporter Lizzie Johnson joins Demian Bulwa to talk about the latest on the mass shooting in Gilroy. How did the shooter get his weapon? What was his motive? And who were the people — including two children — who died in the rampage?
10 min
Photographing Homelessness For 24 Hours
Photographers Gabrielle Lurie and Jessica Christian discuss photographing homelessness during our 24-hour homelessness project. They talk about the challenges of photographing for 24-hours straight, keeping safe out on the streets and how to make moving imagery under tough circumstances. We also learn about Jessica’s subject “Shorty” and how he lives as a disabled homeless man on the streets of San Francisco.
30 min
Safe Parking for the Homeless
People living in vehicles is the next frontier in the homelessness crisis for San Francisco city officials to deal with. A new proposal would turn a parking lot near Balboa Park into a "triage center" for overnight parking and services.
14 min
Town-Gown Quarrels at Stanford & UC Berkeley
Tight housing and more students spell tension between the elite universities and the cities they live in. The city of Berkeley is suing UC, as Santa Clara County wrestles with an expanding Stanford.
12 min
Newsom Takes on PG&E Wildfire Crisis
As wildfire season began, California lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a plan to shield utilities from wildfire liabilities. How does the fund work and how did Newsom navigate his first big crisis?
17 min
'Miscarriage Leave' On the Rise
Miscarriages are very common — and emotionally searing. Some Bay Area companies are offering paid leave to employees, both men and women, who have experienced losses.
17 min
A Change Could Be Coming to Prop 13
A ballot measure headed for the 2020 ballot could bring $11 billion more in tax revenues by changing the way that commercial property is taxed. But county assessors said it would be a logistical nightmare to implement. The Chronicle's senior political writer Joe Garofoli explains how some politicians are ready to grab California's infamous third rail of politics -- Prop 13.
12 min
No Straws, No Forks
Welcome to ‘Ban Francisco’! Business editor Owen Thomas and writers Carolyn Said and Elena Shao discuss the city’s latest attempt to crack down on something. In this case it’s plastic waste from all the straws, utensils, condiment packages and other accessories that come with food orders. The new rule took effect July 1 and we found that restaurants and diners are still getting used to it.
12 min
Immigration Politics in a Word: Chilling
Senior political writer Joe Garofoli explains the politics behind the citizenship question on the census, the federal immigration raids, the new asylum laws and President Trump’s racist tweets about four House members who are women of color.
18 min
What Google's $1 Billion Housing Plan Means
The tech giant's big Bay Area housing commitment is one of the largest of its kind and a sign that even the wealthiest companies are burdened by high rents. But many details are unclear.
17 min
Can Co-Living Help Make San Francisco More Affo...
While young people have long shared housing in cities, an increasing number of real estate developers are betting that co-living can work on a much larger scale. In this episode we talk about the trend, focusing on San Francisco’s starcity, which is building a 270 bedroom coliving project in San Francisco and 800-room complex in San Jose.
18 min
New Turn in Rideshare Rapist Case
A defense attorney in SF’s infamous “Rideshare Rapist” case says an illegal DNA search led police to the suspect.
15 min
SF Mayor London Breed -- One Year In
With Mayor London Breed poised to cruise into a full term in office, Chronicle Editor In Chief Audrey Cooper and City Hall reporter Dominic Fracassa take stock of her past year in Room 200, and look ahead for what's in store for Breed over the next four years.
20 min
Employees Versus Contractors: California’s Big ...
A new law will formalize a California Supreme Court ruling in a case called Dynamex that will make many workers employees instead of contractors. Reporter Carolyn Said explains why this matters to everyone from nail salon operators to investors in Uber and Lyft.
18 min
Best Of: Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants With Sole...
The Chronicle’s new restaurant critic sat down with Audrey Cooper to talk about taking over longtime critic Michael Bauer’s signature list, what “top” means to her, and what’s different about the list this year.
27 min
Best Of: Rebuilding of Aisha
From May: Aisha McCain spent years in prison after getting busted in a massive San Francisco gang crackdown, then she felt a lump in her breast and everything changed.
23 min
Fentanyl Takes Hold in SF
Fentanyl overdoses killed 57 people in San Francisco last year – more than heroin or prescription pain pills. The synthetic opioid that’s 100 times stronger than morphine is now fully embedded in the SF street drug scene, public health experts say.
16 min
Pot in Wine Country?
A local citizens group wants to legalize commercial cannabis cultivation in Napa County. But opponents claim that pot could threaten the success of America’s most famous wine growing region.
19 min
Transbay Transit Center Reopening
Nine months after discovery of a cracked steel girder forced the closure of the Transbay Transit Center, the $2.2 billion transit hub, retail center and rooftop park has been repaired, inspected and is ready to reopen but without buses for now.
11 min
Why Oakland Decriminalized Psychedelics
In early June, Oakland became the second city in the U.S. to decriminalize natural psychedelics like magic mushrooms. That initiative was sparked by growing interest – especially in the Bay Area – in using psychedelics for mental health.
15 min
Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants With Soleil Ho
The Chronicle’s new restaurant critic sits down with Audrey Cooper to talk about taking over longtime critic Michael Bauer’s signature list, what “top” means to her, and what’s different about the list this year.
27 min
How a Chronicle Food Writer Found the Most Impo...
Food Reporter Justin Phillips and Metro Editor Demian Bulwa discuss the scarcity of black food writers and how Kwame Onwuachi has changed the country’s celebrity chef landscape.
27 min
Can California Avoid A Third Year of Deadly Fire?
Firefighters, policymakers and emergency responders are trying to make the state safe from fire, but they have a long way to go.
19 min
Columnist Leah Garchik On Her 47-Year Career
Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik announced in her May 1 column that today, she is leaving the newspaper after 47 years. Host Peter Hartlaub and reporter Steve Rubenstein sat down with Garchik to talk about her first day in San Francisco, her beginnings as a columnist and what she plans to do next.
37 min
Inside Juul’s Fraught Relationship With San Fra...
Editor in chief Audrey Cooper and business reporter Catherine Ho discuss the latest in San Francisco’s efforts to ban the sale of e-cigarettes — and how Juul, the nation’s largest e-cigarette company and a fast-growing presence in the city, is pushing back.
17 min
Muni's Mess and Mayor Breed
San Francisco Mayor London Breed didn't campaign on transportation issues, but she zeroed in on them once she took office. Rachel Swan on why the mayor is gunning for Muni, and the future of transit in the city.
13 min
Taxing Wealthy Companies to Solve SF's Problems
Should San Francisco raise taxes on prosperous companies to help pay for the city's most gripping problems? Between a tax on IPO's, Uber and Lyft and exorbitantly paid CEO's voters will have plenty of options to choose from in November. We break down the three business tax proposals headed to November's ballot, focusing on the most recent one that would raise money for a new mental health care system.
14 min
The California Legislature's Key Bills to Watch
What bills are alive in the California Legislature after a month of big deadlines? We have the rundown, from proposals to expand housing to vaccine exemptions to a push to let bars serve until 4 a.m.
19 min
Why SF's North Beach Is Struggling
San Francisco's Little Italy has seen a spike in empty storefronts. Residents, business owners and city officials blame a slow permitting process, earthquake construction and other challenges.
21 min
Halfway Through the Ghost Ship Trial
Crime reporter Megan Cassidy speaks to Metro Editor Demian Bulwa at the halfway point through the criminal trial of the Ghost Ship fire, where two men are charged in the deaths of 36 people who died in the 2016 blaze.
16 min
The Bay Area's Crumbling Streets and Bridges
Drivers, it's not your imagination: the Bay Area has the worst roads in the nation. We also have concrete crumbling from bridges and freeway overpasses. How did we get to this point -- and what will it take to fix it?
15 min
Palo Alto's Private Park
Reporter Michael Cabanatuan joins Demian Bulwa to talk about 1,400-acre Foothills Park. It's usually populated with wildflowers, deer and lawbreakers. That is, anyone who doesn't live in Palo Alto. The park is restricted to residents.
11 min
Why California Teachers Who Get Sick Have to Pa...
A strange state law allows school districts to charge teachers who get very sick for their own substitutes. But San Francisco Unified School District appears to be as strict as possible on the subject - including prohibiting a Lowell High teacher who needed a liver transplant from using his colleagues' donated sick time.
17 min
End of an Era for the Warriors?
Columnists Ann Killion and Scott Ostler on whether the team's move to San Francisco will turn then into a symbol for Big Tech. Also: What’s with that co-owner pushing a Raptors player? And is Golden State's championship run coming to an end?
21 min
From DACA Recipient to Med School Grad
Immigration reporter Tatiana Sanchez talks about 29-year-old New Latthivongskorn, the first undocumented immigrant to graduate from the UCSF Medical School in it 155-year history. Latthivongskorn is a beneficiary of DACA, a program that protects young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children from deportation.
16 min
The College Admissions Scandal & the Bay Area
As high school seniors graduate and prepare to head off to universities, the college admissions scandal continues to play out inside federal courtrooms. Many of the defendants have ties to the Bay Area and numerous California schools have been called into question. The scandal has raised questions about parenting, privilege and education.
16 min
An Epidemic of Prison Overdoses
Criminal justice reporter Megan Cassidy joins Audrey Cooper to talk about a 113% increase in drug overdoses in California prisons since 2015. Nearly 1,000 people received emergency medical attention in 2018.
18 min
The Man Who Wrote the AIDS Crisis
Randy Shilts may have been the first out gay reporter at a major American newspaper. In 1982, he began writing about what would soon come to be known as AIDS. He would become it's top Chronicler — and it would kill him. An episode of the Chronicle's history podcast, Not Your Century.
21 min
Oakland Ballpark Dreams
The A's would love to build a baseball cathedral on the waterfront, just like the Giants. Can they pull it off? And would that be good for Oakland? Phil Matier and Susan Slusser join Demian Bulwa to answer those and other questions.
17 min
Can PG&E Survive?
J.D. Morris joined The Chronicle days after the Camp Fire broke out, transforming his plans to report on PG&E. In this episode, he and Business Editor Owen Thomas take you inside how we’ve covered this multifaceted story.
25 min
Opioid Addiction: One Family's Story
We're sharing an episode of the San Francisco City Insider podcast. When 33-year-old Jeffrey Choate’s parents saw their son, homeless and addicted to heroin and meth, in Heather Knight's Chronicle column, they — and he — wanted to tell his story.
40 min
Police Conduct in Vallejo
East Bay Columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. talks about the controversial arrests, fatal shootings and police intimidation of black and brown people in Vallejo.
35 min
The Fallout Over Those Crazy San Francisco Gene...
San Francisco General Hospital has finally changed its billing practice so patients will no longer be charged $92,000 for a simple appendectomy or $24,000 for bumps and bruises. But in today's broken health care system, that's not the end of the story. Columnist Heather Knight talks about an effort to ban these bills statewide and how City Hall has promised to scrutinize S.F. General's budget requests in the future.
17 min
"American Taliban": Terrorist or Scapegoat?
With John Walker Lindh set to be released from prison, reporter Kevin Fagan joins Demian Bulwa to talk about the Marin County man who was captured with Taliban forces in Afghanistan in 2001.
21 min
Photographing California's Wildfires
Gabrielle Lurie, a staff photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, sits down with Metro Editor Demian Bulwa to discuss how she covers the wildfires, the dangers that come with it and what stories she looks for in the deadly aftermath.
27 min
Navigating San Francisco's Shelter System
Homeless shelters and Navigation Centers are critical in San Francisco's fight against homelessness. But they're only one piece of a harrowing, complicated puzzle. Editor in Chief Audrey Cooper and reporter Dominic Fracassa discuss the city's shelter system and the role that permanent housing plays in solving San Francisco's homelessness crisis.
31 min
The Rebuilding of Aisha
Aisha McCain spent years in prison after getting busted in a massive San Francisco gang crackdown, then she felt a lump in her breast and everything changed.
23 min
Jeff Adachi, a Police Raid and the Freedom of t...
After SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi's death, a confidential police report with photos leaked. This week, police raided a freelance journalist's home to investigate who in their own department gave him the information. We discuss the raid, what happens next and what it means for journalists in the Bay Area.
39 min
Inside Our Investigations
Managing Editor of Investigations and Enterprise Michael Gray talks about the Chronicle's past and present investigative reporting.
22 min
How a Young Vegetarian Became California's Face...
Interest in hunting and fishing is down in California, and so are the revenues generated from the sports that pay for conservation. To counter the trend, the state has hired Jen Benedet, a.k.a. Jen the Archer, to boost interest in hunting and fishing. We spoke with Archer about her unusual job and talked about whether the initiative can work in a state where many people just aren't into hunting.
10 min
People's Park at 50 With the Man Who Started It
Wednesday is the 50th anniversary of the People's Park riot which resulted in the only fatality in the long history of protest and activism in Berkeley. To honor it, Heyday Books will release an encyclopedic history. We talk with its publisher, Steve Wasserman, and with Mike Delacour, the antiwar activist who started it all.
17 min
Disabilities Services Struggle to Survive
Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper interviews reporter Catherine Ho about her story on why nonprofits that provide services for people with disabilities are shutting down across California.
9 min
Mid-Market: Vision vs. Reality
The “Twitter tax break” San Francisco created in 2011 to draw companies to the downtrodden Mid-Market neighborhood is expiring. Chronicle reporters Trisha Thadani, J.K. Dineen and Roland Li discuss its impact and effects, both good and bad.
21 min
The Camp Fire: 6 Months Later
Kurtis Alexander talks about how far the Northern California town of Paradise has to go in order to rebuild — and whether it should. Lizzie Johnson discusses the difficult and monumental job the coroner had: identifying bodies after the fire.
22 min
SB 50: The Battle Over California's Housing Crisis
From the archives: SB 50, a new housing bill, has drawn national attention to a growing crisis in California. And it’s reinvigorated a years-long fight over about who gets to shape neighborhoods.
22 min
From Homeless to a $4 Million Home
Otis Taylor Jr. talks about Greg Dunston and Marie Mckinzie, a black homeless couple he first wrote about in January. A Piedmont developer took them in, but neighbors in the wealthy, mostly white town soon began calling the police on them.
22 min
The Future of Winter
With climate change threatening to make our winters shorter and warmer, writer Porter Fox looks to ski areas around California to understand how higher temperatures are already changing how resorts operate.
26 min
What to Do About the 'Dead Indian'
A controversial and historic mural at a San Francisco high school -- with depictions of slavery and the killing of Native Americans -- has critics calling for its destruction and art preservationists threatening to sue to save it.
29 min
Upheaval at BART
Transportation reporter Rachel Swan on the latest challenges for the Bay Area's core transit system: Crime, fare evasion, homelessness, the rollout of new cars, and the need to find a new general manager and police chief.
21 min
Should IPOs Be Taxed in SF?
As major SF tech companies IPO, a San Francisco supervisor wants the city's coffers to benefit. City Hall reporter Trisha Thadani breaks down the reaction to the proposal.
16 min
Big Day for the 49ers and Raiders
The 49ers pick second and the Raiders fourth in today's NFL Draft. Beat writers Eric Branch and Matt Kawahara talk about the prospects who might turn these teams around, including Nick Bosa, who recently deleted pro-Trump tweets.
18 min
The California GOP Is Impotent. Can Anyone Save...
The Republican Party is virtually invisible in California. Republicans hold no statewide office, are a super minority in the Legislature and have a 20 percentage point registration gap compared to Democrats. We talk with two women who are trying to turn it around.
20 min
Measles in California
The United States is in the middle of what could be the worst measles outbreak in more than 20 years. California has had some small outbreaks but has largely been spared, in part because the state tightened its vaccination laws three years ago – after learning the hard way just how vulnerable communities become when parents stop immunizing their children.
23 min
1906 Earthquake: Secrets from the Archive
The Chronicle archive has photos dating back to the 19th Century. Critic Peter Hartlaub and librarian Bill Van Niekerken share secrets from the archive, including their favorite 1906 earthquake finds.
22 min
Lifting the Curtain on Police Secrecy
For decades, records of police officers' misconduct were hidden from view. But a new law, SB1421, has thrust into public view numerous incidents of dishonesty, sexual misconduct and use of force.
19 min
Bonus: Singing Across Gender Lines, Part II
Joshua Kosman interviews Elliot Franks, who gave up a career as a mezzo-soprano for a new life and a new baritone voice after going through gender reassignment surgery.
16 min
Singing Across Gender Lines
For trans vocalists, the familiar categories that have long defined operatic and choral music don’t always apply. San Francisco Chronicle editor-in-chief Audrey Cooper talks with classical music critic Joshua Kosman about the artistic and physical realities of singing while trans.
12 min
Buckle Your Seatbelts, Here Comes Uber
Uber is set to thunder onto Wall Street with a stock market debut valuing it at $100 million. Its massive initial public offering will have ramifications for San Francisco, the Bay Area and beyond.
14 min
"Freedom Week": A Frenzy of High Capacity Magaz...
Over a brief seven-day span, California gun owners were allowed to buy high capacity magazines for the first time in almost 20 years following a judge's ruling. They went on a shopping spree.
19 min
BART Cracks Down on Fare Enforcement
Commuters arriving by BART in downtown San Francisco Monday were met by teams of police officers, fare inspectors and managers in neon green vests. It was the beginning of an enforcement blitz meant to discourage fare evaders and reassure riders that lawlessness is not accepted aboard BART.
14 min
Vanishing Violence
From the archive: Chronicle reporters Jill Tucker and Joaquin Palomino offer an inside look at the months they spent documenting the steep drop in youth crime. But they found the good news meant empty cells and also eye-popping costs.
18 min
Giants Fan Bryan Stow Embraces New Life After A...
Giants fan Bryan Stow, who suffered severe brain damage in a March 2011 assault at Dodger Stadium, is starting to feel ‘whole’ again through sharing his anti-bullying message with kids.
25 min
Aging Into Homelessness
A groundbreaking study shows that nearly half of all homeless people over the age of 50 became homeless for the first time after their 50th birthday. Our reporter Kevin Fagan talks with head researcher UCSF Dr. Margot Kushel about what it all means, and where the doctor thinks we should go from here.
28 min
Finding Kyle
Kyle Gamboa’s leap from the Golden Gate Bridge left his family stunned. But in the wake of the 18–year-old’s death, they found a cause to devote themselves to.
16 min
Coming Soon: Fifth & Mission
Dive inside the biggest Bay Area stories of the day with Fifth & Mission, a new podcast from the San Francisco Chronicle coming April 2nd.
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