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:

COVID-19 in 2021: What to Expect
2020 is behind us, but the coronavirus pandemic that's upended our lives and defined the past year is far from over. Health reporter Erin Allday discusses what’s in store in the first weeks and months of the new year.
16 min
2020: Listening Back on a Trying Year
Demian Bulwa hosts a review of the year that was, focusing on the four big stories of 2020: The coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the election and California's wildfires.
24 min
Bruce Bochy on His Past and Future
In this episode of Giants Splash, the former manager talks to John Shea about his life in the year since his retirement, which has included jumping out of a helicopter and managing the French team before the shutdown.
27 min
Hospital Crisis Eases, but Tough Times Ahead
California’s coronavirus numbers are showing signs that the worst of the post-Thanksgiving surge is behind us. Erin Allday talks about how soon is too soon to start getting our hopes up, and reflects on nearly a year’s worth of COVID-19 coverage.
15 min
Extra Spicy: 2020, What Was This Nonsense?
In the final episode of Season 1 of The Chronicle's food podcast, hosts Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips apply their “What is this nonsense?” segment to the year 2020, from a KFC movie to the politics of French Laundry dinners.
28 min
California at a Coronavirus Breaking Point
Coronavirus Warning: Do Not Gather for Christmas
15 min
Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? Episode 3
"That Little Girl Was Me." In this episode of The Chronicle's 6-episode limited series profiling the vice president-elect, reporters and hosts Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan explore how her childhood in Berkeley shaped her worldview. You don't have to have heard the first two episodes to enjoy this one.
20 min
California Is Driving the Holiday Surge
Vaccinations have begun, but COVID-19 is spreading so fast the state is opening makeshift field hospitals and bringing in hundreds of health care workers. If it gets much worse, doctors may need to ration care. Erin Allday on the crisis.
17 min
Best of 5M: One Man's Desperate Search for Help
In this episode from September, reporter Trisha Thadani tells the story of 23-year-old Will Andrews as he tried to kick his addictions to heroin and fentanyl while living on San Francisco's streets.
14 min
Are Shelter-In-Place Rules Working?
Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at UCSF, says some of the Bay Area's shutdown rules are too strict, and that schools and outdoor dining can operate safely with proper precautions.
26 min
To Catch a Fire-Setter
Cal Fire’s Mike Thompson suspected serial arson in a devastating string of blazes in Lake County. And he and his fellow investigators identified a suspect: Damin Pashilk, a former inmate firefighter. Lizzie Johnson tells the story of the chase.
25 min
Vaccination Drive Launches in Bay Area
Five front-line workers at San Francisco General Hospital were given their first doses of vaccine on Tuesday. The historic day opened up numerous questions.
16 min
The Vaccine Arrives in the Bay Area
Reporter Erin Allday talks about the historic moment and what you need to know about the massive immunization drive ahead. Plus: Annie Vainshtein on the psychology behind growing defiance of coronavirus lockdowns.
19 min
Will San Francisco Cancel Abraham Lincoln?
The San Francisco school board designed a process to take controversial names off of public schools, and 44 names could be ditched. One big surprise: The 16th president. Why? Education reporter Jill Tucker has a history lesson.
19 min
Far From Home, Far From Safe
California sent thousands of its most vulnerable children to out-of-state facilities run by a for-profit company. Allegations of rampant abuse and mistreatment have followed.
17 min
Coronavirus is Surging, So is Defiance
As California endures its worst wave yet of the pandemic, some residents and business owners are defying new shutdown orders. Plus, robot cars with no driver have arrived in S.F.
17 min
A Grim Milestone in California: 20,000 Dead fro...
As cases, deaths and hospitalizations surge, California medial experts warn that hospital beds will soon run out.
24 min
Becerra's Departure is Newsom's Opportunity
President-Elect Joe Biden's pick for a big cabinet job — Health and Human Services secretary — is California’s Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
15 min
Making Sense of the New Coronavirus Shutdown
Nine months into the pandemic, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are surging.
21 min
The Return of the Shutdown
Gov. Gavin Newsom announces new restrictions for regions where ICU capacity is under 15% — which isn't the Bay Area yet, but could be soon. Capital reporter Alexei Koseff and food writer Janelle Bitker join Heather Knight to talk about what to expect.
25 min
Bay Area Hospitals Brace for a Third Surge
Hospitals say they're mostly ready for the onslaught of COVID-19 patients expected to fill their beds in the coming weeks, but political leaders are warning they could reach capacity by Christmas. Reporter Nanette Asimov on their plans — and worries.
10 min
Now It's Breed's French Laundry Getting Aired
As Heather Knight first reported, San Francisco Mayor London Breed attended a party at the opulent Napa restaurant one night after Gov. Newsom did, amid coronavirus stay-home orders. Why does it matter? Knight and Joe Garofoli on practicing what you preach.
18 min
A Jewish Doctor Encounters a Nazi COVID-19 Patient
Emergency Dr. Taylor Nichols saw the swastika tattoo on the chest of a patient and paused. Reporter Jill Tucker says that hesitation, a product of coronavirus pandemic fatigue, made him question his own compassion. Plus: Erin Allday has a grim update on on the recent surge of the virus.
17 min
Entering the "Dark Winter" of COVID-19
Coronavirus hospitalizations in the Bay Area were rising even before Thanksgiving. The beginning of the holiday season has health officials bracing for the worst surge yet. Erin Allday explains why.
15 min
Total SF: Animal Twitter Star Officer Edith
Fifth & Mission is presenting episodes of other Chronicle podcasts this weekend. In this episode of Total SF, Peter Hartlaub and Heather Knight welcome Lt. Eleanor Sadler from San Francisco Animal Care & Control, who's been bringing joy to Twitter and Instagram as Officer Edith for years.
38 min
Extra Spicy: Roman Mars
Fifth & Mission is presenting episodes of other Chronicle podcasts this weekend. In the current episode of Soleil Ho and Justin Phillips’ food show, the author and host of the design and architecture podcast 99% Invisible talks about how the coronavirus pandemic has created an opportunity to make restaurant design more resilient through parklets and reclaimed outdoor space. He also digs into how delivery apps and contactless delivery are destroying people’s empathy toward restaurant workers.
39 min
Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? Bigger Job, B...
Fifth & Mission is presenting episodes of other Chronicle podcasts this weekend. In Episode 2 of the biographical miniseries Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? the former San Francisco district attorney is elected California attorney general, takes on Wall Street, and wins. It’s part of what she says is her career-long fight “for the people.” But there are times when Harris faces Wall Street and she's the one who blinks, and critics say her law enforcement record disqualifies her from being a true progressive. Reported by Tal Kopan and Joe Garofoli. Note: You don't have to have listened to Episode 1 for Episode 2 to make sense.
21 min
A First: San Francisco Cop Charged With Homicide
District Attorney Chesa Boudin has charged Christopher Samayoa with manslaughter for his role in the 2017 shooting of Keita O’Neil — the first time an SFPD officer has ever been charged with homicide in a use-of-force case. Reporter Rachel Swan has details.
14 min
The Man Who Counts San Francisco's Overdose Deaths
Dr. Luke Rodda, the city's chief forensic toxicologist, talks about the devastating surge in overdose deaths — 563 through October, triple the number lost to COVID-19 — and why it's important to release monthly tallies.
28 min
How to Think About Your Thanksgiving Plans
As coronavirus surges, experts are advising that your plans for the big day should be: Don't do it. Erin Allday and Annie Vainshtein join Heather Knight to talk about how realistic that is, and how to talk to relatives about it.
23 min
Newsom Orders a Curfew: Will It Work?
Californians in counties where the coronavirus is raging the most must change their behavior starting Saturday. Between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. anyway. Erin Allday and Heather Knight discuss Gov. Newsom's order for purple-tier counties. Scientists are dubious about its efficacy.
14 min
A New Supervisor Navigates the Pandemic
Connie Chan will represent the Richmond on the Board of Supervisors starting in January. She talks about fighting for cash for small businesses hit hard by the coronavirus shutdown, plus the push to reopen schools and other issues.
25 min
Crossing the Border Amid the Pandemic
The U.S.-Mexico border has been a major focus of the Trump administration. But for some American citizens, it's simply a part of their day. Erika Carlos talks to people who must endure short hours, long lines, and coronavirus fears.
14 min
Newsom Pulls the "Emergency Brake" — and Apolog...
Even as vaccine trials show promise, Gov. Newsom says many counties need to go to purple status, the most restrictive. Newsom also apologized for attending a crowded dinner at the French Laundry. Sacramento reporters Dustin Gardiner and Alexei Koseff are guests.
18 min
Catching up with new SF District Attorney Chesa...
San Francisco's DA discusses what could curb the city's rampant drug dealing, his idea for a new trafficking court and more.
36 min
The San Francisco Exodus is an Opportunity to Some
The coronavirus has emptied much of downtown San Francisco. But with rents in the city taking a rare plunge, some others are finding it's high time to move back and snag a relatively affordable loft or apartment.
15 min
The Election Is Over, But Divisions Remain
The election is over, but the political and cultural divisions in the country remain. If anything, they appear wider and starker than they were four years ago.
18 min
San Francisco Is Pausing Reopening. But at What...
San Francisco will shut down indoor dining this Friday and is pausing plans to reopen high schools after reporting an alarming spike in coronavirus cases.
19 min
Will Pfizer's Coronavirus Vaccine End the Pande...
Pfizer on Monday announced its vaccine is proving 90% effective in battling COVID-19 and President-elect Joe Biden is already planning his coronavirus response for what will surely be a tough winter.
17 min
Developing San Francisco’s West Side
Heather Knight talks with S.F.'s new member of the Board of Supervisors, Myrna Melgar of District 7.
27 min
It's Over: Biden Wins — What's Next?
In a combined episode of the Fifth & Mission and It’s All Political podcasts, Joe Garofoli, Tal Kopan and Demian Bulwa talk about the moment that put the Biden-Harris ticket over the top, the historic nature of their victory, and what to expect now from Donald Trump.
19 min
Elections Update: Where Things Stand
With Joe Biden having moved into the lead overnight in ballots counted in Pennsylvania and Georgia, a Biden victory over President Trump looks likely. But it's not quite assured. Political reporter John Wildermuth on where we are as the counts continue in those two states as well as Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina and Alaska.
6 min
Progressive Causes Turned Back at the Polls
The police killing of George Floyd energized liberals seeking to root out systemic biases. But in California, the election was a disappointment for reformers. Alexei Koseff and Otis Taylor Jr. size up the state of the state.
18 min
What Uber and Lyft's Ballot Win Means for Gig W...
The ride-hailing giants poured millions into a California ballot measure to keep their drivers as contractors, rather than employees with full benefits.
13 min
Elections Update: Trump Rallies in the Bay Area
Photographer Scott Strazzante talks about covering a Trump youth march in Danville on election eve and a watch party in Novato on election night. He was one of very few wearing a mask at the march, the only one at the party. He says covering Trump rallies reminds him of covering sporting events, with a similar atmosphere of team fervor.
7 min
Elections Update: The Maps Changed
Washington correspondent Tal Kopan talks about why Democratic voters who went to bed Tuesday night feeling pessimistic had more reasons for optimism when they woke up Wednesday morning — though nothing’s decided yet.
9 min
Election Night Wrap: What We Know
In a combined episode of the Fifth & Mission and It’s All Political podcasts, Joe Garofoli, Heather Knight, Alexei Koseff and Demian Bulwa sum up a tense, inconclusive presidential election day, plus state and local races.
25 min
Elections Update: San Francisco's Coolest Polli...
The city operated 588 polling places on Election Day — and some were very unusual. Hear from poll workers at the gay leather bar the SF-Eagle, the Museum of Ice Cream, the Geneva Car Barn and the Balboa Theater — one of San Francisco's last independent movie houses
9 min
Elections Update: The Excitement of First-Time ...
Reporter Nora Mishanec visits the Eritrean Community Center in San Francisco, where poll inspector Jessica Kuo says many of the in-person voters are casting ballots for the first time. She says they're excited to hear the ballot scanner go "ping."
5 min
Elections Update: Mayors Breed and Schaaf, Barb...
San Francisco Mayor London Breed and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf are among the political luminaries phone banking from "victory booths" at Manny's in San Francisco on Election Day. Heather Knight also talks to Rep. Barbara Lee about what a Biden-Harris victory would mean to her.
5 min
Elections Update: Gov. Newsom on Unrest, Replac...
Heather Knight spent the morning at Manny's in San Francisco, which hosted a phone-banking event that many of top local and state elected officials attended. In this update, Gov. Gavin Newsom talks about his concerns on Election Day, as well as his thoughts about replacing Sen. Kamala Harris if she's elected vice president.
5 min
What to Expect on Election Day
More San Franciscans will vote in this election cycle than ever before. John Arntz, director of the San Francisco Department of Elections, explains how counting will work and when to expect results.
22 min
In Oakland, Police Reforms Collide With a Homic...
The organized effort to slash the police budget in Oakland has collided with a homicide spike. At the center of the tension are Black and Latino residents who want to be safe from both police brutality and crime in their neighborhoods.
17 min
The Usual Suspect
Matthias Gafni talks about Michael Alexander, who falsely confessed to a murder even though another man's blood was all over the scene. Alexander was freed from prison years later after the other man was arrested, but prosecutors say the two men acted together.
23 min
Live! What Women Want in 2020
Heather Knight and Tal Kopan interview Rep. Katie Porter, Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks and Emerge president A'shanti Gholar about major issues facing women during this election.
59 min
Has the Alameda County D.A. Had a Change of Heart?
Nancy O'Malley charged a cop for a shooting in San Leandro — a first in her tenure — then reopened the Oscar Grant case. Has Black Lives Matter had an influence on her? Megan Cassidy reports.
17 min
Is the Coronavirus Surge Coming to the Bay Area?
COVID-19 is spiking elsewhere. What's the Bay Area doing to sidestep the trend? Catherine Ho and Aidin Vaziri talk about local numbers, the danger of vaccine distrust and what you should know before making holiday plans.
20 min
Chronicled: Who Is Kamala Harris? Episode 1
The Chronicle's new six-part miniseries about the life and career of the Democratic nominee for vice president, hosted by Joe Garofoli and Tal Kopan, begins with Harris' historic upset win in the San Francisco D.A. race.
17 min
Get Out the Vote: The Final Days
San Francisco resident Lala Wu co-founded Sister District, a national organization to influence the outcomes in state legislature races around the country. She tells Heather Knight why she’s optimistic as Election Day approaches.
24 min
Extra Spicy | A Fine Dining Legacy, Burned Down
A California wildfire burned down the three-Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood. Here’s what some former employees have to say about its highly-disciplined — and allegedly toxic — work environment
37 min
Should Black Californians Get Reparations?
Under a bill signed by Gov. Gavin Newson, the state is launching a task force to study how it might approach reparations.
21 min
When Will San Francisco Public Schools Reopen?
Susan Solomon, president of the San Francisco teachers' union, discusses why the San Francisco's schools are lagging behind some other Bay Area districts.
21 min
Live: Race and Election 2020
East Bay Columnist Otis R. Taylor Jr. leads a discussion about what this election means for race in America. Joining him on the live Zoom event are Sarah Treuhaft, Dr. Jason Williams and Debra Gore-Mann.
58 min
The Great San Francisco Lemur Heist
Maki, a 21-year-old ring-tailed lemur, was stolen from The San Francisco Zoo. It's the third high-profile theft from the zoo in recent years.
16 min
San Francisco as the Seat of the Resistance
Lots of city residents are volunteering to sway swing state voters with calls, texts and letters. Eighteen drag queens joined the fight at Manny's outdoor victory booths and explained why so much hinges on the Nov. 3 election.
21 min
A Battle Over Lowell High School
A proposal to change how students are admitted to one of the nation's top public schools has ignited an emotional debate that spilled into a San Francisco school board meeting late Tuesday. Jill Tucker reports.
18 min
Why Hasn’t COVID-19 Spiked in the Bay Area?
Coronavirus is surging in several states as people loosen their behavior and President Trump downplays the risk. So why hasn't the Bay Area seen the same trend? Health reporter Erin Allday explains why the region is an "outlier," and what must be done to keep it that way.
18 min
A Walk Through the Tenderloin With a Veteran of...
Thomas Wolf, who was homeless and addicted to heroin in the Tenderloin, now takes anybody who's interested on walking tours of the neighborhood. He thinks City Hall needs to overhaul its approach to the drug crisis, and new numbers showing 468 people died of overdoses in the first eight months of this year show he's right.
13 min
How to Rev Up San Francisco's Weak Economy
In many ways, things are as bad as they've been since the Great Depression. City leaders have some creative ideas, ranging from universal basic income for artists to making outdoor dining permanent.
10 min
It's All Political: “Mr. Vice President, I’m sp...
On the Chronicle's politics podcast, host Joe Garofoli is joined by Heather Knight, John Diaz and John Wildermuth to break down the historic Harris-Pence vice presidential debate, where a fly became a social media star.
20 min
Separating Fact From Trump’s COVID-19 Fiction
Doctors, like many of us, have been shocked by President Trump’s statements since testing positive for the coronavirus last week. Chronicle reporter Aidin Vaziri recounts what the UCSF medical team had to say about it in its grand rounds. Hint: They’re not happy.
20 min
Live: San Francisco and California Ballot Guide
Heather Knight is joined by Joe Garofoli, host of the It's All Political podcast, and reporters Trisha Thadani and Dustin Gardiner for a live Chronicle event, "Road to Election 2020." Recorded Oct. 1.
52 min
Trump's Wild Weekend With COVID-19
The president's hospitalization has intensified outrage over his longtime downplaying of the coronavirus pandemic, called into question his ability to carry out his duties and introduced more chaos into the election.
24 min
Fire is a Climate Crisis: What's the Solution?
If California's going to confront the wildfires that are again ravaging the state, it has to think big. There's no silver bullet, says reporter J.D. Morris, but rather an array of needed changes. The biggest is fighting climate change
16 min
Wildfires Update: Searching for the Glass Fire ...
Walk up a steep road through a scorched landscape with reporter Matthias Gafni in St. Helena. Gafni narrates his walk in the area where Cal Fire has been focusing its investigative teams on finding what might have started the Glass Fire.
4 min
San Francisco Opens Up: Is It Safe?
The city now allows restaurants and places of worship to welcome people back inside, but do people feel safe enough to go? Extra Spicy podcast host Justin Phillips and Nora Mishanec talk about how it works.
17 min
Wildfires Update: St. Helena
Reporter Trisha Thadani spent the day in this Napa County town covering the Glass Fire and talking to residents. One woman, considering various climate disasters, wonders, "Where else do I go?"
5 min
It's All Political: Trump Biden Debate 1: What ...
On The Chronicle's politics podcast, editorial board editor John Diaz and — GENTLEMEN, PLEASE! — political writer John Wildermuth join — EXCUSE ME! — host Joe Garofoli to analyze the first presidential — PLEASE LET HIM FINISH! — debate.
19 min
Wildfires Update: Castello di Amorosa
Wine critic Esther Mobley reports from the famous castle winery in Calistoga, which lost a farmhouse and all of its bottled wine in the Glass Fire. She also describes the "eerie situation" in fire-devastated Napa County.
5 min
Wine Country Ablaze Again
Napa and Sonoma counties are back to a familiar chaos. Homes, businesses, resorts and wineries have burned and thousands have fled ahead of burning embers. Firefighters dug in. And shadowing it all is a fear for California's future.
19 min
Wildfires Update: A Harrowing Escape
Reporter Matthias Gafni talks about an uncomfortably close call late Sunday night as he followed a city bus through flames as it evacuated residents of the Oakmont Gardens Senior Home in Santa Rosa.
6 min
The Bay Area's Coronavirus Long-Haulers
We often measure the toll of the pandemic by deaths — over 200,000 in the U.S. But what is of increasing concern is the long-term, perhaps even permanent, damage that COVID-19 can cause to even healthy young people.
19 min
Coronavirus Inequality in the Mission District
Jon Jacobo, head of San Francisco's Latino Task Force, discusses why Latinos make up more than half of San Francisco's positive coronavirus cases despite being just 15% of the population.
23 min
Sequoias vs. Climate Change and Wildfires
It’s a pivotal moment in the history of the state’s redwood forests. Save the Redwood League president Sam Hodder argues for why we need redwood trees to fight climate change and restore balance to our natural environment.
21 min
Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants
Food critic Soleil Ho talks about this year's Top 100 list and how the coronavirus pandemic has changed everything about the Chronicle tradition. Some of her picks have closed. Others have pivoted.
21 min
One Man's Desperate Search to Kick His Addictio...
Will Andrews was 23, homeless and addicted to heroin, then fentanyl. He agreed to let reporter Trisha Thadani follow him as he tried to get help. His story is one of personal struggle, but also of a broken system of care.
13 min
Executions Under Trump Split Catholics
Attorney General William Barr has restarted federal executions for a president who wants to exude toughness. He's also a devout Catholic, in a church that opposes the death penalty. Reporter Jason Fagone talks about the controversy.
18 min
Jackie Fielder: A Challenger From the Left
Heather Knight talks with California Senate candidate Jackie Fielder, a 25-year-old Democratic Socialist who's challenging Sen. Scott Wiener in the race for District 11.
20 min
Communal Living in a Pandemic
The Manor of Being in San Francisco includes 11 residents who share meals and values. Reporter Annie Vainshtein talks about how they've coped with the coronavirus pandemic and how they're protecting each other.
25 min
Six Months Into Our New Normal
What many assumed would be a temporary coronavirus shutdown has become our new way of life. Health reporter Erin Allday talks about what we’ve learned and how that may apply to the six months ahead.
22 min
A State Senator Battles QAnon
California Senator Scott Wiener has become the target of revolting online harassment and even death threats from followers of QAnon, a blatantly false delusion about shadowy pedophiles. Wiener is setting the record straight.
27 min
Trump Brings Climate Denial to a Burning Califo...
The president pays a visit as fires continue to endanger lives and foul air up and down the West Coast. Reporter Alexei Koseff recounts how Trump resisted Gov. Newsom’s call to confront the reality of climate change.
20 min
Police Violence in Vallejo
In the last five years in the city, at least 60 people, mostly people of color, have said they were victims of excessive force. And in the last 10 years, 19 people have been fatally shot by officers. Otis Taylor Jr. talks about his investigation.
27 min
San Francisco's Master of Disasters
They city is being battered by coronavirus, wildfires and more, and it's Mary Ellen Carroll's job to respond. The director of the Department of Emergency Management talks about how residents can cope with the chaos.
26 min
The Bay Area's Blade Runner Skies
What's causing our air to turn an apocalyptic orange? Is it safe to breathe? How long will this dystopian atmosphere stick around? Chronicle reporter Michael Cabanatuan has talked to scientists and is here to explain.
12 min
Coronavirus' Disproportionate Toll on Latinos
Latinos make up 16% of the population of Marin County, but 71% of coronavirus infections. Reporter Tatiana Sanchez talks about that disparity, which is wider in Marin than elsewhere, but exists all over the Bay Area and beyond.
16 min
Why There Was a Baby in the Assembly
Assemblywoman Buffy Wicks just had a baby in late July and wanted to vote by proxy to avoid coronavirus risks. When the Assembly speaker said no, Wicks drove from Berkeley to Sacramento and cast crucial votes while carrying her daughter.
26 min
Total SF: Pandemic News From the Kids
On this episode of the Total SF podcast, host Peter Hartlaub talks to Chris Colin, a Bernal Heights writer and parent who, on a whim, launched Six Feet of Separation, an online newspaper for the coronavirus era created entirely by kids.
36 min
A Fire's Hellish Path: How the Hennessey Fire R...
Chronicle reporters Matthias Gafni and Lizzie Johnson reconstruct the Hennessey lightning fire as it raced east from Napa County into Vacaville, burning homes, forcing people to flee for their lives, and stretching firefighters who didn’t have nearly enough resources.
25 min
A New Direction for San Francisco Police
Malia Cohen, sworn in this week as the city's newest police commissioner, discusses changes she'd like to see in the San Francisco Police Department and what comes next in the national protests over police brutality.
27 min