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:

"We Don't Want to Distrust Our Community": Oakl...
Vandalism and burglaries are cutting into the already slim profit margins of Oakland's restaurant and bar owners. Chronicle food writer Elena Kadvany joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about the latest struggle for business owners after the pandemic, inflation and staff shortages. Plus: William Tsui, co-owner of Viridian, shares why keeping his business in Oakland is personal.
21 min
"They're Dying on the Streets With Their Rights...
State Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman, a trained social worker, is leading the drive to change laws to make it easier to get severely mentally ill people more help. She favors lowering the bar for committing someone for treatment involuntarily, and among the obstacles she faces is opposition from disability rights advocates.
19 min
UC College Admissions 101
University of California acceptance rates have plunged, making this college admissions season particularly tough. High school seniors share how they're feeling, and Chronicle reporter Danielle Echeverria joins host Cecilia Lei to break down the GPA data of students accepted into UC schools, and what else admissions offices look at as they make their decisions.
16 min
Will Levi's "Diverse" AI Models Do Anything for...
The San Francisco clothing brand has announced it will use artificial intelligence-generated models "of color" to display products on its website and mobile app. Race and equity columnist Justin Phillips joins host Dominic Fracassa to talk about the thorny questions that raises. The practice figures to save Levi's money and offers representation, but is a diversity initiative that takes jobs from real people of color really diverse?
13 min
How Human Trafficking Has Become a Defense for ...
In two recent drug prosecution trials in San Francisco, defense teams have argued that some people accused of selling drugs are immigrants who have been forced to commit the crime in order to pay off debts, or face violence by cartels and coyotes. Reporter Megan Cassidy joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about that legal strategy, and how it may be consequential for future drug prosecution trials.
12 min
Breed vs. the Board: Who Has the Power in San F...
Progressive supervisors say Mayor London Breed is not properly managing resources to solve the city's biggest problems, like homelessness, the drug crisis, housing affordability and property crime. The mayor says it’s the board that’s being “obstructionist.” City Hall reporter Mallory Moench joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about that conflict, and the limits both sides face.
14 min
SFNext: Fixing Our City: What San Diego Got Rig...
Fifth & Mission is bringing you an episode of The Chronicle's podcast about solving San Francisco's intractible problems. If you like this episode, please consider following SFNext: Fixing Our City. While the name of the federal Emergency Housing Vouchers rental subsidy program underscores how urgent finding housing is for at-risk groups, only a little more than half of the vouchers are in use in California. San Francisco has used 51% of its vouchers. But San Diego is seen as a standout success, having put more than 100% of its allotment to use on new leases. How did San Diego — the state’s second-biggest city — manage this, and can other cities take a page out of its book?
24 min
What’s Behind San Francisco’s Recent Youth Viol...
Stabbings at a middle school and on a Muni bus, brawls at Stonestown Galleria. The city and education officials have announced a plan to combat a surge of violence among teens, but will it work? Sarah Wan of the Community Youth Center of San Francisco joins Cecilia Lei to talk about why these incidents are worrying and whether San Francisco is equipped to tackle the violence.
15 min
Could Trump’s Legal Troubles Cost Him California?
Former President Donald Trump is facing a litany of legal issues, including a criminal indictment in New York that could come any day. Will the investigations cost him the California primary and potentially a chance at reelection? Political Breakdown podcast host Marisa Lagos joins It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission host Joe Garofoli to talk about whether the former president will go down or turn “political crap” into gold again.
24 min
San Francisco Invests in Embattled Trans Community
As anti-trans legislation sweeps across the country, San Francisco is doubling down on its support of the transgender population with its first standalone clinic that provides a “one-stop shop for trans services.” Chronicle health reporter Erin Allday took a tour of Trans Thrive's new space and shares what she learned with host Cecilia Lei.
14 min
Black Reparations: Can S.F. Put a Price on Raci...
San Francisco’s draft plan to give qualifying Black residents a one-time payment of $5 million sent conservative media into a frenzy. But Chronicle columnist Justin Phillips tells host Cecilia Lei, the viral headline is a distraction from the city’s goal: to undo a long history of harm against Black San Franciscans. He argues that it’s a tough conversation the city should be having.
17 min
Novid? People Share Their Stories of Evading COVID
Three years into the coronavirus pandemic, a minority of Americans have avoided infection — as far as they know. How did they do it? Chronicle reporter Kellie Hwang joins host Cecilia Lei to share what Bay Area epidemiologists have to say about COVID-19 holdouts. And some listeners share their own stories of dodging the virus.
13 min
Who Is the GOP Calling Woke ... and Why?
Salon writer Amanda Marcotte joins It’s All Political on Fifth & Mission host Joe Garofoli to talk about the political right's new favorite word, co-opted from Black culture and now deployed as a stand-in for various slurs. Marcotte says conservatives’ inability or unwillingness to define “woke” is a tool, a way of "bulletproofing their arguments against rational discourse."
23 min
The Other Valleys Hit Hard by SVB’s Collapse: W...
Though it’s known as the bank for tech startups, Silicon Valley Bank was also the go-to institution for California’s wine industry for nearly 30 years before its collapse this week. Chronicle reporters Esther Mobley and Jess Lander joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about wine country’s unique connection to the failed bank, and how winemakers are planning for their financial futures.
16 min
The Bay Area's Plan to Bar Natural Gas
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has been working to fight air pollution. Now, the agency is poised to ban the sale of natural gas-powered water heaters and furnaces. Chronicle reporter Julie Johnson joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss why that move would 'spare the air' in the Bay Area, as well as the arguments against the proposal.
11 min
How Should Ethnic Studies Be Taught in Californ...
California is the first state in the U.S. to require ethnic studies as a high school graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2030. The hard part? Each district deciding how to teach it. Chronicle education reporter Jill Tucker joins host Cecilia Lei to explain the differing approaches, and how Bay Area high school communities are responding.
19 min
How PG&E Is Delaying New Housing
California's largest utility, PG&E, has obstructed newly constructed building projects by delaying their connection to the electrical grid — sometimes for months, even years. Chronicle reporter Dustin Gardiner joins host Cecilia Lei to explain how lack of power has impacted the state's housing crisis, and how a new bill could help.
11 min
‘From Victim to Actor’: What Ballroom Dance Mea...
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
San Francisco's Crisis Teams Work. Why Are They...
San Francisco spent millions on new street teams that bring mental health services directly to people in need. Now, the city appears to be pulling back, removing clinicians from the streets. Opinion columnist and editorial writer Nuala Bishari joins host Demian Bulwa to talk about this change in approach and potential impacts.
15 min
What's Going On With This Record-Breaking Winter?
Snow in the Berkeley Hills. Floods in the middle of San Francisco. A snowpack that's reached staggering heights. We're in the midst of an extreme winter, and another major storm is on the horizon. Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Díaz joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about this winter's record-breaking precipitation and its impact on California’s drought.
13 min
Why Do So Many Oakland Murders Go Unsolved?
Last year, 120 people were killed in Oakland. But police recorded a homicide clearance rate of 36% — less than San Francisco and other big cities across the Bay Area and nationally. Reporters Joshua Sharpe and Susie Neilson join host Demian Bulwa to explain why so many homicides are going unsolved and what it means for families searching for answers.
17 min
How a Corporate Landlord Changed West Oakland
An emerging class of corporate landlords has made millions of dollars by buying and renting out homes in low-income, Black neighborhoods. Chronicle data reporter Susie Neilson joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about one example in West Oakland and a worrying national trend of neglected properties and eviction threats.
20 min
The Many Near Deaths of Tom Stienstra
Longtime outdoors writer Tom Stienstra has stared down grizzly bears, steered clear of mountain lions and braved the elements. But his closest call was a recent cancer diagnosis. He joins Cecilia Lei to talk about meeting it with the same joie de vivre that made him fall in love with California’s natural beauty in the first place.
21 min
'The Riders Come Out At Night': Corruption and ...
For two decades, Oakland's police force has operated under court oversight — forced to reform itself as a result of a lawsuit brought by victims of the Riders, a group of officers accused of beating and framing people in front of a rookie cop who blew the whistle. The department's failings are the subject of a new book, “The Riders Come out at Night." Co-author Darwin BondGraham joins host Demian Bulwa to talk about the department's troubled history and current roadblocks to reform.
19 min
California’s COVID Emergency Is Over, but Is th...
California just lifted its COVID-19 state of emergency. Local and federal assistance programs are expiring. No one wants to talk about the virus. But does that mean the pandemic’s truly a thing of the past? UCSF doctor Peter Chin-Hong joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about lingering COVID-19 risks, and what comes next.
16 min