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:

Do Bay Area Mass Shootings Signal a Wave of Gun...
In a series of unrelated mass shootings last weekend in the Bay Area, 19 people were shot and one died. The shootings fit into a broader pattern: After a decades-long decline in violent crime, homicides and gun-related incidents have risen since the start of the pandemic. Data reporter Susie Neilson talks to host Demian Bulwa about whether this week's shootings are part of a new spike in violence, or just a very bad weekend.
14 min
Can We Keep BART From Running Over a Fiscal Cliff?
Trains once an hour? No weekend service? What would the Bay Area look like if transit agencies like BART and Muni had to make deep service cuts? A proposed state bailout would avert immediate disaster, but it’s not a done deal. Reporters Ricardo Cano and Dustin Gardiner join host Cecilia Lei to discuss what’s at stake in the budget crisis, and Annie Fryman, director of special projects at the think tank SPUR, talks about why this moment is a wake-up call for California.
29 min
Navy Captain Risked His Career for Sailors’ Hea...
Santa Rosa native Brett Crozier was the captain of the nuclear aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. His email to Navy brass begging for more help as the virus spread among his crew made international news — and cost him his post. It's All Political on Fifth & Mission host host Joe Garofoli broke that story with fellow Chronicle reporter Matthias Gafni. Crozier hasn't spoken about the incident until now. He joins Garofoli to discuss his "conscience over career moment" and his new memoir, "Surf When You Can: Lessons in Life, Loyalty, and Leadership from a Maverick Navy Captain."
21 min
How Henry’s Hunan Shaped the Chronicle’s New Re...
Food is personal for new restaurant critic and hometown native Mackenzie Chung Fegan. She joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss how her family's San Francisco restaurant, Henry's Hunan, changed her life — and her approach to restaurant criticism.
17 min
Aborted Landings at SFO: How Concerning Are They?
In two separate incidents last month, pilots approaching San Francisco International Airport had to abort landings at the last minute — just a few hundred feet from the ground — due to planes on the runway. Go-arounds, as the maneuvers are called, happen at every airport, but experts say the events at SFO are signs of an airport that's overburdened. Reporter Matthias Gafni joins host Demian Bulwa to review what happened and what's so unusual about these episodes.
16 min
DeSantis’ Migrant Stunts Come to California
After several days' delay, the Florida governor has taken credit for two groups of migrants who were sent from Texas to California's capital. California officials say the migrants were told they would find jobs and assistance in Sacramento, but were simply left there. Reporter Sophia Bollag joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about Sacramento's response, led by religious leaders who have rallied to the migrants' aid.
15 min
What’s Behind the California Exodus of Home Ins...
California has yet another housing dilemma on its hands: Two of the state's biggest property insurers, State Farm and Allstate, have decided not to underwrite new homeowners policies here. Chronicle reporter Claire Hao tells host Demian Bulwa about the money and politics behind the companies' pull-outs. What are consumers' options now?
12 min
Attacks on Trans Youth Hit California High Scho...
While this blue state isn't passing anti-trans legislation, two girls pulled out of a state track final because they didn't feel safe following protests over "fairness." Chronicle reporter Marisa Ingemi tells host Demian Bulwa that those protests sound like bigoted dog whistles, considering they come from people otherwise unconcerned about fairness in girls sports.
16 min
Overdoses Have Spiked. How Will San Francisco R...
San Francisco has consistently seen more than 600 overdose deaths a year, and the rate of fatal overdoses has recently spiked. On this episode of The Chronicle's SFNext:Fixing Our City podcast, Dr. Jeffrey Hom, director of the city’s Office of Overdose Prevention, is optimistic that the city can turn the tide on overdoses, but acknowledges a long road ahead.
27 min
One Shutters, One Opens: A Tale of 2 Downtown B...
Unlike other retail outlets that have blamed crime when closing stores, Cole Hardware owner Rick Karp says his family is closing its Ninth Street retail shop because it hasn't been profitable since the start of the pandemic thanks to online shopping and the loss of downtown foot traffic. But Brian Sheehy of Future Bars, which has just opened Dawn Club, its 13th bar in San Francisco, says these are good times for the hospitality business. They both join host Demian Bulwa to talk about the business climate downtown.
16 min
Rep. Robert Garcia: “We’ve got to organize” to ...
The freshman congressman from Long Beach says he won’t engage with Republicans who “don’t respect my basic humanity” as a gay man. He tells It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission host Joe Garofoli why he’s leading the charge to expel Rep. George Santos, why attacks on trans youth are so dangerous, and why he swore the oath of office not on a Bible, but on a Superman comic book.
19 min
90 Days to End San Francisco's Open-Air Drug Ma...
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin is calling on Mayor London Breed to quickly bring an end to the open drug use on the city's streets and sidewalks. Breed says she has her own plan, and that "force is going to have to be a part of it." That's cause for concern from those who see law enforcement as the wrong way to approach a public health problem. City Hall reporter Mallory Moench joins host Demian Bulwa to talk about a problem unlikely to go away in 90 days.
13 min
Safe Consumption Sites: The Cases For and Against
Hundreds of people are dying from drug overdoses every year in San Francisco, and the rate of deaths has spiked. Are safe consumption sites a solution? Public health workers and most city leaders say so, but critics fear such sites would attract crime and enable addiction, and plans to establish them appear stalled. On this episode of The Chronicle's SFNext:Fixing Our City podcast, Madeleine Sweet, an overdose survivor in recovery, and Ellen Grantz of the group Mothers Against Drug Addiction and Death delve into the controversy.
23 min
Downtown Oakland Faces a Pivotal Year
Just like San Francisco, the East Bay city is facing budget shortfalls and a vacancy crisis caused by the shift to remote work. But as reporters Sarah Ravani and Roland Li tell host Demian Bulwa, Oakland has some advantages over its bigger neighbor — but also its own unique challenges.
16 min
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence Give the Dodger...
In a roller coaster few days, the Los Angeles Dodgers caved to pressure from conservative Catholics and disinvited the L.A. chapter of the "leading-edge Order of queer and trans nuns" from their Pride Night celebration, then reversed course and offered an apology, which the Sisters accepted. Sister Mary Media and Guard HOOOO?! of the San Francisco Sisters join host Demian Bulwa to talk about the wave of attacks on LGBTQ people and their rights, and the roles that unity and forgiveness play in battling it.
17 min
These Northern California Beaches Are Endangered
Rising sea levels from climate change are threatening some of the Bay Area's most beloved beaches, including Stinson. But the tide isn't the only threat. Dammed rivers and coastal development also keep the sand from replenishing itself. Chronicle reporter Tara Duggan joins host Demian Bulwa to talk about whether we're doing enough to save these cherished and vital resources.
14 min
"From Victim to Actor": What Ballroom Dance Mea...
Best of 5M: In honor of AAPI Heritage Month, we're republishing this episode from March 10. After tragedy struck an Asian ballroom dance studio in Monterey Park, host Cecilia Lei reports from ballroom studios and social dances in Oakland and San Francisco to see how Asian seniors are responding — and how dancing helps them find their personal power.
20 min
Justin Jones of the Tennessee 3 on His Oakland ...
The state representative, who was temporarily expelled from the Legislature after protesting for gun safety laws, began his activism career as a teenager in the East Bay. He talks to It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission host Joe Garofoli about his multicultural upbringing, the inspiration he takes from earlier Bay Area social justice movements, and the challenge of championing progressive ideas in a deep-red state.
23 min
How Oakland Evicted Its Largest Homeless Encamp...
For nearly a decade, around 300 unhoused people built a community under Interstate 880 in Oakland, until the city evicted the Wood Street encampment to make way for 170 units of affordable housing. Documentary filmmaker Caron Creighton joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about what happened during the month-long eviction process, and the residents' last ditch efforts to stay put.
21 min
What To Do When Someone's In Mental Crisis
If you live in the Bay Area, you’ve probably encountered people in mental distress on public transit or city sidewalks. What should you do when you see someone in crisis?
16 min
No Charges, But Many Questions, in Banko Brown ...
As new details and videos emerged in the killing of alleged shoplifter Banko Brown in a San Francisco Walgreens, District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said she would not charge the security guard who pulled the trigger. Chronicle reporters Rachel Swan and Kevin Fagan join host Demian Bulwa to discuss the intense reaction — and how downtown shopkeepers are now thinking about security.
19 min
Dr. Bob Wachter on COVID-19 Pandemic: "I'm Read...
Both the federal government and the World Health Organization have declared the end of COVID-19 as a public health emergency. UCSF Department of Medicine Chair Dr. Bob Wachter welcomes that sentiment after having spent the last three years guiding hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers through the pandemic. But he says he worries about long COVID. He joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss.
22 min
Could the "Doom Loop" Mean Housing Affordabilit...
Some people who have been priced out of San Francisco, or are desperately hanging on, are seeing a potential upside to the declining downtown economy: lower rents. SFNext reporter Noah Arroyo joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about why that rosier picture of the city’s immediate future may need some thoughtful consideration.
19 min
California Has a New Lake, and That Means Highe...
Tulare Lake was massive before modern agriculture and municipal water needs drained it. After this winter's storms, it's back, and it's half the size of Lake Tahoe, at some locations so big you can't see across it. As reporter Kurtis Alexander tells Demian Bulwa, this is bad news for Central Valley farmers whose crops are underwater, which is likely to make existing food inflation worse.
14 min
How This Oakland Teachers Strike Is Different
With just a couple of weeks left in the school year, there may be progress in the negotiations between the Oakland Unified School District and its teachers union, but as the strike enters day 5, it's causing mixed feelings in the broader community. Chronicle reporter Jill Tucker joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss how the bargaining process is going, why the "common goods" proposal is making this strike unique, and how graduating seniors are feeling about potentially ending their high school careers away from their classrooms.
17 min