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:

5 Oakland Schools Won’t Close, But Trouble Remains
The newly elected Oakland school board reversed the controversial decision to shutter several elementary schools.
18 min
How SFPD Language Reveals Racial Bias
A Chronicle analysis of more than three years of police data has found that the San Francisco officers used terms like "marijuana" and "baggy" clothing to justify searches of Black residents, which yielded no contraband.
15 min
11 Million Bucks or the Bay Bridge Lights Go Dark
The Bay Bridge has sparkled for 10 years with a light installation designed by artist Leo Villareal. But the display costs millions to maintain and, with funds drying up, could soon go dark forever. Columnist and TotalSF podcast co-host Heather Knight and urban design critic John King join host Cecilia Lei to argue the cases for and against a fund-raising campaign to preserve the Bay Lights.
18 min
Can San Francisco Ever Be Ready for the New Bre...
Climate change has unleashed flurries of rain on a city with an antiquated sewer system, and the severity of future storms is not going to lessen. Reporter St. John "Sinjin" Barned-Smith joins Cecilia Lei to talk about what San Francisco officials can and can't do, and a brewing fight over who will pay for the extensive damage.
15 min
What’s Different About the Most Recent Tech Lay...
Entrepreneur Roger Lee started tracking tech sector layoffs in March 2020. Since then, Bay Area tech companies — including Twitter, Meta, Salesforce and Lyft — have laid off more than 93,000 employees. Lee joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about the scale of recent layoffs, their effects on the tech sector, and what job seekers might expect. in the coming months.
14 min
“It’s Just So Jarring”: A Photographer Covers F...
After years of covering California disasters, Chronicle photojournalist Jessica Christian turned the lens to Sunol, where she grew up. The small town flooded during recent heavy rains, and she shares with host Demian Bulwa what it was like to watch her family’s memories and relics get destroyed — and how her local community came together to support one another.
15 min
Best of 5M: The Case for a 4-Day Work Week
Originally published Dec. 7, 2021: Chronicle reporter Carolyn Said joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss Bay Area employers who are experimenting with a 32-hour work week — at full 40-hour pay — and CommonFuture's VP of People Operations, Joann Lee Wagner, talks about why the four-day work week is about equity.
17 min
Why S.F. Leaders Are Responsible for that Viral...
The clip that captured an art gallery owner spraying a homeless woman with a hose sparked massive outrage. Chronicle columnist and editorial writer Nuala Bishari joins host Cecilia Lei to explain why San Francisco's failure to manage homelessness has fueled tensions in the city and why human compassion is key to finding solutions.
15 min
It’s Unhappy Hour for Bay Area Bar Culture
COVID-19 hit local nightlife hard, and it hasn’t come all the way back. Bar owners are struggling to find ways to attract customers who have changed their socializing habits during the pandemic. Chronicle senior wine critic Esther Mobley joins host Cecilia Lei to talk about the how bar owners are adapting and what's at stake if bar culture doesn't bounce back.
16 min
"Just Put the People First": Jackie Speier on H...
After nearly five decades of public service and 15 years representing San Francisco and San Mateo counties in the House of Representatives, Jackie Speier has retired from Congress. Washington correspondent Shira Stein joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss the conversation she shared with Speier near the end of her term.
17 min
17 Ballots Later, a Surprise Win for Aaron Peskin
Though incumbent San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Shamann Walton was favored to be reelected, deadlocked votes and an impasse led to Peskin winning the job. Chronicle reporter J.D. Morris joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss the dramatic election and what Peskin's leadership may signal for city governance.
13 min
Tiny Homes at 16th and Mission: Will It Help Ho...
Other Bay Area cities have used tiny homes to address the housing crisis, but San Francisco has been slow to embrace the model. Chronicle reporter Trisha Thadani joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss a proposal to build a temporary tiny cabin village at 16th and Mission, and why that may signal a shift in how the city is addressing homelessness.
13 min
The Future of Gavin Newsom's Political Power
California's governor was to be inaugurated for his second term Friday after facing down a number of challenges, including a recall election and the COVID-19 pandemic. Chronicle political reporters Dustin Gardiner and Sophia Bollag join host Cecilia Lei to talk about what we can expect.
17 min
Why Fixing Homelessness Is Personal for Oakland...
Sheng Thao will soon be inaugurated as Oakland’s new mayor. The daughter of Hmong refugees and survivor of domestic violence joins host Joe Garofoli to speak about her journey to the mayoral office, including how she plans to tackle Oakland’s homelessness crisis — something she’s experienced firsthand.
23 min
How to Weather the "Bomb Cyclone" Storm
While some Bay Area residents are still recovering from the New Year’s Eve storm, Wednesday’s “bomb cyclone” storm is threatening the region with further devastation. Chronicle meteorologist Gerry Diaz joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss what to expect, why this latest storm is dangerous and how you can stay safe.
14 min
"Put Down the Baggage": How to Avoid Chronic St...
Exercising and healthy eating are common new year's resolutions but Dr. Elissa Epel, author of "The Stress Prescription: 7 Days to More Joy and Ease," shares why stress management might be the most important goal you make this year. She joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss simple tips to alleviate stress and anxiety as we enter another year of the pandemic and tackle other uncertainties.
18 min
What Surprised Us and What We Missed in 2022
For the last Fifth & Mission episode of the year, Chronicle reporters and editors talk about the news story that surprised them the most in 2022, and what story they think the newsroom overlooked. Plus, editor-in-chief Emilio Garcia-Ruiz joins host Cecilia Lei to reflect on what it's been like to lead the newsroom since coming to San Francisco in 2020.
21 min
Dispatch From Ukraine: Berkeley Student Shares ...
Maksym Dubkov paused his Ph.D. studies to return home to Ukraine and found a volunteer organization to provide humanitarian aid to the areas most affected by the war with Russia. He joins Cecilia Lei to talk about why he decided to leave UC Berkeley for his home country.
23 min
The Bitter Taste of Gentrification
Calavera is an upscale Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland that claims to be influenced by Oaxacan culture. But Chronicle food critic Cesar Hernandez says the restaurant exemplifies "food gentrification." He joins host Cecilia Lei to discuss the fine line between upscale Mexican food and cultural appropriation.
19 min
Cal-OSHA Ends Mandatory COVID Sick Pay
California's workplace regulators have passed a new set of rules that no longer require employers to pay workers to stay home if they catch the virus. Reporter Chase DiFeliciantonio joins host Demian Bulwa with details. Plus: Reporter Mallory Moench talks about staff shortages at San Francisco General Hospital and 911 dispatch as COVID surges.
16 min
The Unseen Overdose Crisis: Inside San Francisc...
A disproportionate number of people in San Francisco are dying of drug overdoses inside city-funded single room occupancy buildings, or SROs. Chronicle reporters Joaquin Palomino and Trisha Thadani join host Cecilia Lei to discuss their latest investigation and how the city has neglected to protect its most vulnerable residents.
26 min
How Slow is S.F.'s Building Permit Approval Pro...
San Francisco has a bad reputation when it comes to building housing: It takes a staggeringly long time. Chronicle reporters Dustin Gardiner and Susie Neilson join host Cecilia Lei to discuss just how long it takes to get a permit, why it's gotten this bad, and the larger costs of the city's flawed system.
15 min
Striking UC Academics Get a Lift From Tradition...
Blue-collar labor is supporting the researchers, scholars and graduate workers who have walked out at the University of California. Reporter Ryan Kost tells host Dominic Fracasa that this kind of solidarity signals a shift in what it means to be “working class.”
11 min
A New Variant on a COVID Winter Surge
Cases are on the rise and hospitalizations are up. Is the Bay Area in for another winter COVID surge? And how are new immune-evasive variants contributing?
15 min
One Man's Long Road Back From Fentanyl
Ben Campofreda fought his way to sobriety after years on the street. Columnist and Total SF co-host Heather Knight talks to Cecilia Lei about his remarkable story, and we hear from Ben himself, who says San Francisco has to do more for people trying to navigate its system of aid.
22 min