Fifth & Mission

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

Will Diners Bite on Lab-Grown Meat?
At an upscale San Francisco restaurant, diners recently got a taste of chicken that was never part of a bird. The companies developing lab-grown meat say cultivating flesh instead of raising livestock could reduce animal cruelty and the environmental impacts of our food. But how far away are those goals? And more importantly, how does it taste? Producer Keith Menconi picks up his fork — and talks with Chronicle food and wine editor Janelle Bitker and columnist Soleil Ho — to find out.
26 min
The Millionaire Philanthropist Seeking to Unsea...
A new contender to challenge Mayor London Breed's re-election bid announced his campaign on Tuesday. Wealthy philanthropist Daniel Lurie says it’s time for a "new era of leadership." Senior political writer Joe Garofoli joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss Lurie’s vision for San Francisco and why he has a fighting chance to become the city’s next mayor even as a political newcomer.
15 min
SF Program Offers Help for Priced-Out Renters: ...
Sharing a home with roommates has always been a strategy for lower-income tenants to rent in expensive cities, but now a nonprofit is matching up strangers on the verge of displacement to help them stay in San Francisco. Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan talked with two people who moved in together with the help of the HomeMatch program. He joins host Laura Wenus to explain how the city is using this tool to prevent homelessness.
19 min
San Francisco Has a Reparations Proposal. Now W...
Last week, San Francisco's African American Reparations Advisory Committee went before the Board of Supervisors to present its recommendations for repairing the harm done to the Black community. Will their report lead to action? Reparations committee chair Eric McDonnell reflects on the supervisors' professed support, and Chronicle columnist Justin Phillips analyzes where the city will likely go from here with host Laura Wenus.
23 min
‘There's Shootings Every Night’: Oaklanders Wan...
As Oakland’s crime continues to rise, the city’s leaders are facing growing criticism and demands for more aggressive action. Mayor Sheng Thao has resisted calls to declare a state of emergency, arguing that such a move would amount to “political theater.” Reporter Sarah Ravani joins host Cecilia Lei to help unpack the increasingly fraught politics of public safety in Oakland.
18 min
California Lawmakers Passed 900 Bills. Which Wi...
Higher wages for fast food workers? Driverless big rigs? Legal psychedelic mushrooms? California lawmakers just wrapped the legislative session and sent 900 bills to Governor Gavin Newsom. Reporter Sophia Bollag joins It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission host Joe Garofoli to talk about what the governor will sign, what he’ll veto and what we still don't know.
20 min
The Building Drama at 33 Tehama
A water main burst last June at 33 Tehama, a luxury apartment tower in San Francisco, forcing residents to evacuate. More than a year later, they haven’t been able to return, and it’s unclear when repairs will be complete. Tenants have been left in limbo, with residents of below-market-rate units hit especially hard. Reporter Rachel Swan picks up the ongoing saga of 33 Tehama with host Laura Wenus and discusses why this story is emblematic of the city’s broader housing challenges.
18 min
An Existential Threat for California Fishers
The California fishing fleet is struggling through "unprecedented" times, with drought, wildfires, algal blooms, ocean warming and subsequent restrictions all jeopardizing their work. Climate and environment reporter Tara Duggan tells host Laura Wenus how this is making it harder to find coveted local salmon, what seafood lovers might look for instead, and why these conditions could be a death knell for California's fishing industry.
15 min
What a Violent Tenant-Landlord Confrontation Sa...
When landlords in Berkeley celebrated the end of an eviction moratorium recently, the backlash was swift: Tenant advocates protested, and a physical fight broke out. Tensions between renters and property owners have been escalating, but for the most part they don’t boil over — they show up in court, where a swell in eviction cases is overwhelming staff. Berkeleyside and Oaklandside reporters Supriya Yelimeli and Natalie Orenstein tell host Laura Wenus what this violent incident says about the state of Bay Area housing.
19 min
What You Need to Know About the New COVID Vaccine
Amid rising local and national COVID-19 cases, public health officials are hoping updated COVID vaccines will help prevent yet another winter surge of infections. Chronicle reporter Aidin Vaziri joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss the sub-variants that are causing the latest swell of cases, as well as tips on how to get the new shots.
14 min
Dreamforce is Packing Downtown S.F. Could it Be...
Dreamforce is in full swing in downtown San Francisco this week, bringing in tens of thousands of people and millions of dollars to the city. But Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has warned that the event may leave San Francisco next year if the city’s drug and homelessness problems don’t improve. Reporter J.D. Morris joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss why San Francisco has been seeing declines across the convention industry and how city leaders are strategizing a convention tourism comeback.
17 min
San Francisco Drug Arrests Are Surging. Here’s ...
Drug users and dealers are being arrested in unusually high numbers in San Francisco’s troubled Tenderloin neighborhood amid a spike in overdose deaths and complaints about street conditions. It’s just the latest in a series of enforcement pushes, and this time, state agencies are involved. But even within the city’s own government, this is a deeply controversial strategy. And, as City Hall reporter Aldo Toledo and data reporter Susie Neilson tell Laura Wenus, neighborhood denizens are not yet seeing the desired results.
20 min
A Sexual Abuse Reckoning for Bay Area Schools
A new state law that took effect in 2020 has expanded the window for former Bay Area students who allege sexual abuse by educators to file claims against schools they say didn’t protect them. Chronicle reporter Sophia Bollag joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss her months-long investigation and the patterns of abuse and grooming by educators and neglect by administrators. She’ll also share how coming forward decades later is helping heal some alleged victims. Content warning: This episode includes descriptions of child sexual abuse and assault.
25 min
The Stud Returns: How an LGBTQ Icon Made Its S....
San Francisco’s gay bars and nightclubs have been struggling for years, but now a rare bright spot: After closing in March 2020, the owners of the Stud bar have found a new location and plan to reopen early next year. Arts and culture writer Tony Bravo joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss this historic LGBTQ institution and why so many have rallied to save it.
17 min
Inside San Francisco's Staffing Crisis
About 4,000 city jobs are vacant in San Francisco. That means the city is short police officers, street cleaners, accountants, nurses and technicians. Why? A Civil Grand Jury report from June pinpoints roadblocks to hiring. Foreperson Karen Kennard gives highlights of the jury’s findings and Department of Human Resources Director Carol Isen tells host Laura Wenus what the city’s been doing to fix this longstanding problem.
28 min
Unpacking Albany High's Racist Instagram Scandal
When a teen at a Bay Area high school started posting overtly racist images on Instagram, the fallout fractured a community and surfaced deep divides. Journalist Dashka Slater spent years reporting on the aftermath and how it affected a generation of students at Albany High — which happens to be host Cecilia Lei's alma mater.
35 min
Can San Francisco Come Back from This? Pittsbur...
As San Francisco struggles against the rip tide of urban decline, reporter Chase DiFeliciantonio found a model for its future in Pittsburgh. The East Coast city stagnated after the collapse of its steel industry in the 1970s, but it has recently reinvented itself as a center for tech innovation and higher learning. Chase joins host Joe Garofoli to discuss what lessons the fall and rise of Pittsburgh might hold for San Francisco.
17 min
Car Break-Ins: A San Francisco Criminal Tradition?
Car break-ins have risen dramatically in San Francisco and Oakland since 2010. At their peak, San Francisco saw more than 80 incidents a day. And this isn’t the first time a spree of automobile thefts has bedeviled the city: S.F. faced a similar situation a century ago. Data reporter Susie Neilson and culture critic Peter Hartlaub dig into the history with host Laura Wenus to figure out what's behind these twin crises and what could help.
24 min
A Real Estate Mystery Begins to Unravel
Five years ago, an unknown entity began offering exorbitant sums of money to buy up vast tracts of land in rural Solano County. No one knew who was behind the purchases until their plans came to light in recent weeks. Reporter Shira Stein joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss this very well-funded effort to build a brand new Bay Area city.
16 min
Is This AI Boom the Win San Francisco Needs?
Artificial intelligence companies are flocking to San Francisco to take advantage of local talent and capital. In response, city leaders have wasted no time branding the city as the “AI capital of the world,” but it remains to be seen whether the success of this multi-billion dollar industry will be a boon for the local economy. Reporter Chase DiFeliciantonio joins host Laura Wenus to discuss the AI boom and how it might shape up differently from past tech windfalls.
18 min
A Celebrated Food Hall Closes in the Tenderloin
La Cocina Municipal Marketplace was heralded as a springboard for immigrant- and women-owned food businesses when it opened in 2021. Now, its food kiosks are closing down. Opinion columnist Soleil Ho and food reporter Mario Cortez join host Cecilia Lei to discuss whether the closure is a symptom of the city’s larger struggles and what the loss means for the food hall’s resident vendors and Tenderloin neighbors.
21 min
The Price of Fighting California’s Wildfires
Wildland firefighting has long been recognized as dangerous, dirty work. Now, there is growing evidence that it can also cause serious long-term health problems. Chronicle reporter Julie Johnson spent six months investigating the impacts of wildfire smoke on firefighters, and spoke to a dozen men and women diagnosed with grave diseases who all suspect that smoke was a factor. She tells host Cecilia Lei that for decades fire agencies have struggled to provide meaningful protection for their workers, but that progress could be coming.
20 min
Why San Francisco's Streets are Even Harsher fo...
Unsheltered women face violence and harassment both on the streets and inside temporary housing in San Francisco. Reporter Mallory Moench spent months speaking to several women about the challenges they face, from navigating pregnancy to protecting themselves from sexual assault — and how the city lacks sufficient resources to keep them safe.
17 min
Battle Over Encampment Sweeps Draws Courthouse ...
Since last December, San Francisco has been fighting a court injunction that blocks it from sweeping homeless encampments. That legal battle erupted this week as supporters and opponents of encampment sweeps squared off outside the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Reporter Aldo Toledo joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss why this long-simmering controversy is heating up now and what’s at stake for San Francisco residents — housed and unhoused alike.
20 min
California Schools Grapple With Anti-LGBTQ Host...
Students are returning to classes amid a national wave of anti-LGBTQ hostility, and California school districts are not immune.
22 min