The San Francisco Chronicle's flagship news podcast features editor in chief Audrey Cooper and metro editor Demian Bulwa discussing the biggest Bay Area stories of the day with Chronicle journalists and newsmakers.
In the last decade, Bay Area public officials banked on big projects — many on former military bases — to fill our vast housing needs. J.K. Dineen on why most of the homes remain unbuilt.
What the Moms 4 Housing Want
In the wake of the pre-dawn eviction of a group of homeless mothers from a West Oakland house Otis Taylor Jr. and Sarah Ravani join Demian Bulwa to talk about Oakland's housing crisis and what's next for the moms and their kids.
Wi-Fi on Bart?
Want to use your computer in the Transbay Tube? Reporter Rachel Swan on the system's plan to finally get Wi-Fi — and improved cell service — after years of frustration and delays.
The Suspect Next Door
After Leola Shreves was brutally beaten and killed in her own home, police got a confession from her next-door neighbor. But as Matthias Gafni reports, all the evidence pointed to another man.
The Housing Shortage Fight
SB50, Scott Wiener’s controversial bill to boost housing construction around public transit in wealthy suburbs, flamed out in the Legislature last year. Can new amendments overcome opposition from local leaders?
Trouble at Yosemite’s Iconic Hotel
For decades, the sumptuous Ahwahnee Hotel at the foot of Half Dome has attracted presidents, movie stars and big spenders. But as Kurtis Alexander reports, some say the property has seen better days.
Here Come the Gas Bans
Bay Area cities are starting to ban natural gas appliances inside new homes, a bid to fight climate change. Reporter Mallory Moench talks about the effort and the backlash, including from restaurants who prefer an open flame.
Datebook: Babylon Gone, Part 1
Fifth & Mission presents the first episode in the Datebook podcast's three-episode series on "Beach Blanket Babylon," the musical revue that closed on New Year's Eve after a world's longest 45-year run. Peter Hartlaub, Lily Janiak and Annie Vainshtein dive deep into the iconic San Francisco show. Subscribe to Datebook and download all three episodes: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
Gang Fight in San Francisco
When Chesa Boudin takes over as district attorney this month, he plans to stop prosecuting a type of gang charge he says is “infused with racism.” Reporter Evan Sernoffsky on the emotional debate.
Top 10 Stories of the Year
Chronicle reporters Kevin Fagan, Rachel Swan and John Wildermuth join Demian Bulwa to talk about the biggest Bay Area stories of 2019 — from PG&E blackouts to trouble aboard BART and teen vaping — and why they captured our imagination.
The Decade in Sports
From the Giants to the Warriors to Colin Kaepernick, Chronicle columnists Ann Killion and Scott Ostler join Metro Editor Demian Bulwa to talk about the biggest stories of the 2010s.
Mick LaSalle’s Best Movies of 2019
The Chronicle’s critic talks about the best, worst and most interesting movies of the year with Audrey Cooper — who’s seen none of them — and recalls the day he had to watch a Star Wars movie 6 times in a row.
Towering Changes in San Francisco
Chronicle urban design critic John King explains how he selected the city’s best buildings and spaces of the past 10 years — and what the future might hold.
The New Niners
The San Francisco 49ers are once again one of the best teams in football. But what’s it like behind the scenes? Beat reporter Eric Branch and Columnist Ann Killion give the real story.
The Homeless Camp That Can't Be Rousted
A growing tent city in Santa Rosa is the latest flashpoint in the homelessness crisis. Kevin Fagan reports that authorities can't break it up unless they can provide enough housing for all the residents.
The Shocking Cost of Building Housing
San Francisco has the highest construction costs in the world. Metro editor Demian Bulwa and reporter Roland Li break down the factors making new housing close to impossible.
The Hero of the Kincade Fire
When flames swept over him in Sonoma County, a Cal Fire captain made a last-ditch decision: He pulled two residents under a fire blanket the size of a beach towel. Reporter Lizzie Johnson tells the story of Jason Dyer.
Cops Sue Over Shipyard Workplace
Nearly 400 current and former SFPD employees have sued a company tasked with cleaning up contamination at the Hunters Point Shipyard. Editor Audrey Cooper talks with Jason Fagone and Cynthia Dizikes about their reporting on the cleanup.
The Class of 2020
What is life like for teens about to graduate? Chronicle director of photography Nicole Frugé and photographer Gabrielle Lurie join Audrey Cooper to talk about Class of 2020, documenting life in Bay Area high schools.
The Chronicle's Culture Desk looks back on this century with 20 moments that say something about the current state of the Bay Area and, by extension, the world.
A Surge of Drug Deaths
More than 10,000 people have now died across the Bay Area in drug overdoses since 2006. Reporter Erin Allday digs into a growing epidemic of meth and fentanyl abuse.
IPO to IP-Uh-Oh
Breathless (non-Chronicle) headlines warned that San Francisco would be drowning in IPO millionaires in 2019. But the housing market has turned soft. Columnist Kathleen Pender and business editor Owen Thomas talk about what to expect in 2020.
Best of Fifth & Mission: How to Drink Wine
Chronicle wine critic Esther Mobley shares her secrets and brings her spit bucket for a tasting session with Audrey Cooper. Plus: How California vintners are adjusting to climate change, which threatens Cabernet Sauvignon, the state’s most important grape. First published Aug. 23, 2019.
How to Stop Homelessness
Since 1982, The Chronicle and the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund have found a novel way to keep people from becoming homeless: The Season of Sharing Fund. Audrey Cooper and Kevin Fagan chat with new SOS executive director Zev Lowe.
Crab Season Blues
Why won't Dungeness crab be in grocery stores by Thanksgiving? Assistant food editor Tara Duggan explains the latest delays, which are linked to the health of whales.
Minor Crimes, Major Time
Reporters Jill Tucker and Joaquin Palomino, as part of their Vanishing Violence investigation, have found that California officials' claims that juvenile halls now mostly hold serious offenders is not true.
San Francisco's Deadly Streets
A spike in traffic violence has claimed 27 lives so far this year. Metro editor Demian Bulwa and columnist Heather Knight talk about why San Francisco's Vision Zero plan, to eliminate traffic deaths in the city, is off track.
Live: How We Cover Disasters, Part 2
Reporters J.D. Morris, who covers PG&E, and Kurtis Alexander, who covers California climate and environmental issues, talk with metro editor Demian Bulwa about how they work their beats as the state is hammered by wildfires and massive blackouts.
Live: How We Cover Disasters, Part 1
Reporter Lizzie Johnson and photographer Carlos Avila Gonzalez talk with editor in chief Audrey Cooper and a live audience at the Chronicle Center in San Francisco about covering wildfires — how they protect themselves, what risks they’re willing to take, what they have to know. First of two parts.
London Breed’s Brother Seeks Freedom
After a woman died on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2000, Napoleon Brown got 44 years in prison. He’s seeking a shorter sentence in light of a new law. His sister, the mayor of San Francisco, has advocated on his behalf in the past. Reporter Dominic Fracassa on the latest twists in the case.
Orinda Shooting Aftermath
Police have still made no arrests after the mass shooting at a Halloween "Mansion Party" at an Orinda Airbnb. Reporter Evan Sernoffsky talks about the victims, the possible motives and the new scrutiny on Airbnb.
Starting Over in Paradise
How do you recover from the worst fire in California history? A year after the Camp Fire killed 85 people and leveled a whole town, just 14 homes have been rebuilt. But there's hope, say reporter Lizzie Johnson and photographer Gabrielle Lurie, who have been spending time in the disaster area.
A Silver Bullet for Meth?
No. There’s no such thing. Reporters Kevin Fagan and Dominic Fracassa talk about how meth’s powerful grip on San Francisco is killing people and contributing to the city’s biggest problems, and about the latest idea to deal with it: a sobering center for addicts.
Election Day Preview
Editorial Page Editor John Diaz and City Hall reporter Dominic Fracassa join Audrey Cooper to talk about today’s election in San Francisco, including two races that have received national attention: the four-way battle for district attorney and Prop C, which would regulate e-cigarettes.
The Fisherman’s Secret
What would you do if you suddenly found a golden treasure? Audrey Cooper interviews reporters Tara Duggan and Jason Fagone about an unbelievable tale that took more than a year to report — the story of fisherman Joe Pennisi’s secret.
BART: Parking vs. Housing
As the transit agency begins filling its lots with residential buildings, it’s chipping away at a perk commuters have enjoyed for years — cheap parking spaces. Rachel Swan on the battle of housing for people against housing for cars.
PG&E Outages: Cell Phones Too
Bay Area residents needed cell service more than ever as they lost electricity and worried about wildfires. Reporter Mallory Moench joins us to talk about why cell service providers in some places failed this test, and what can be done about it.
Wildfires Update: The Inspectors
Lizzie Johnson talks about shadowing two firefighters, one a Cal Fire division chief and one a fire marshal from Riverside County, as they inspect the damage inflicted by the Kincade Fire and encounter a homeowner who defied the evacuation order — a dangerous move, but one that allowed him to save his house.
Wildfires Update: First Responder Heroism
Sarah Ravani reports on the heroism she's been seeing at the Kincade Fire, including firefighters who used water from a swimming pool to help save three houses in Windsor. She also talks about the emotional reaction of Healdsburg residents when the power came back on.
Wildfires Update: Kincade Fire
Evan Sernoffsky reports from the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa during the calm before the big windstorm that's expected to kick up Tuesday afternoon and evening. Firefighters fear the winds could cause a major flare-up in the Kincade Fire.
Wildfires Update: Wineries
Wine critic Esther Mobley joins Audrey Cooper to talk about how California’s biggest cash crop, the $40 billion wine industry, is faring in the latest round of wildfires and power shut-offs. Fifth & Mission is updating more frequently than usual this week as we focus on the developments around Northern California.
Wildfires Update: Windsor
Fifth & Mission is updating more frequently than usual this week as we focus on the wildfires and power shut-offs around Northern California this week. In this episode, Megan Cassidy reports from Windsor as firefighters race against the clock to establish firelines during a lull in the high winds.
Powerless: A Weekend of Shut-offs and Fire
Megan Cassidy joins Audrey Cooper to talk about her reporting on the Kincade Fire, one of many wildfires around the Bay Area. J.D. Morris talks about the massive PG&E shut-offs in response to the weekend's major wind event — and the reactions by the public and Gov. Gavin Newsom.
How the Fire Tracker Works
Senior interactive developer Evan Wagstaff joins Audrey Cooper to talk about how he and his team build the tools that are some of the Chronicle's most popular features, including the California Fire Tracker and the PG&E Outage Map.
PG&E Shut-offs: Here We Go Again
For the second time this month, PG&E is preparing to preemptively cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in a bid to prevent wildfires. Reporters J.D. Morris and Mallory Moench tell us what to expect and answer key questions about how people are coping.
Sports Wagering in California Is No Sure Bet
Michael Cabanatuan talks about the slow road to sports betting in California. A third of states now allow it, but not the Golden State, where it will take cooperation between gambling interests, as well as consent from state lawmakers and the voters.
Tony Bravo: The View From the Audience
The San Francisco Chronicle arts writer joins Audrey Cooper in a chat about his new column exploring the Bay Area’s vibrant scene, what he learned from drag shows and how to be a supporter of the arts.
Old Quakes, New Quakes
Northern California residents marking the 30th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake were shaken anew this week by a couple of big jolts. Reporter Peter Fimrite joins Demian Bulwa to talk quake science, why we can't predict the Big One, and ShakeAlert, the new earthquake early-warning system.
Life on the Warriors Beat
Connor Letourneau joins Audrey Cooper to talk about what it’s like to cover the Golden State Warriors. They discuss what Steph Curry’s really like, how things will be different for the team at the Chase Center, and the “Connor Letourneau Curse.”
PG&E Outage: Anger, confusion erupts
The power is out in huge parts of Northern California as Pacific Gas & Electric Co. makes good on its threats to turn off electricity lines to an estimated 2.3 million people. Across the region, officials and residents have scrambled to respond, with mixed results. As the utility struggles to get out accurate information to those affected, residents prepare for a days-long outage. But questions remain: Why did the Bay Area seem so ill prepared to deal with what could become the new normal?
PG&E's Power Shut-offs
Hundreds of thousands of people — not just those in wooded areas — could be affected as PG&E prepares to shut off power in an attempt to prevent wildfires in this week's dry and windy weather. Reporter J.D. Morris on how we got here and what you need to know.
Teen Crime Plunge
In a rare good-news crime story, reporters Jill Tucker, Evan Sernoffsky and Joaquin Palomino have been tracking historic drops in crime among teens. They talk about that and their investigation into the surge of kids tried in adult courts in the past two decades — under policies now seen as too severe.
Visiting Our Underwater Future
Culture Desk Reporter Ryan Kost spent four days wandering the Bay Area to explore future flood zones, areas that scientists expect to be swallowed up by rising sea levels. He tells Audrey Cooper about what he learned there.
What Is Bay Area Culture?
The Bay Area is a quirky place. And The Chronicle is launching an effort to explore all of those quirks that make us hella Bay. Sarah Feldberg joins Audrey Cooper to debut the Culture Desk, a new coverage focus that will explore everything from wealth to sex to health and parenting.
Rocks and Hard Places on Clinton Park
Heather Knight and Kevin Fagan join Demian Bulwa to talk about the infamous boulders on Clinton Park alley, which have become a symbol for San Francisco's inability to provide basic services for its homeless population or to enforce laws when street behavior turns dark and violent.
BART vs. Fare Evasion and Suicide
Transportation reporter Rachel Swan talks about BART's plan for fare gates that scofflaws might find harder to hurdle or squeeze through, and the agency's frustration over trying to prevent suicides.
Soleil Ho on Restaurants, Culture and Politics
The San Francisco Chronicle's restaurant critic talks with Audrey Cooper about how she wants to challenge readers to think about where they dine and how that intersects with politics and influences local culture.
Pelosi Pulls the Impeachment Trigger
Political reporter Joe Garofoli and editorial page editor John Diaz join Demian Bulwa to talk about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the House of Representatives will open an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Will her strategy of waiting pay off?
San Francisco's Broken Mental Health System
Reporter Trisha Thadani talks about The Chronicle series "Broken Care," which explores breakdowns in the way San Francisco aids its most vulnerable residents — those who are homeless, addicted and mentally ill.
A Brother’s Heartbreak on San Francisco’s Streets
When a photo of a desperate, homeless heroin addict ran in The Chronicle, the man's brother — with help from reporter Kevin Fagan — launched an effort to find and help him. Incredibly, he succeeded, but the story ended in tragedy.
Transportation, Housing and Climate Change
Much of the Bay Area's new housing is in distant San Joaquin County. Reporter J.K. Dineen talks about the environmental impact of that. Plus: Rachel Swan on California falling short of its emissions goals.
Protecting San Francisco From the Bay
Urban design critic John King on why we need to start planning now to prepare the Bay Area for the impacts of sea level rise — and why the development of vulnerable spots like Treasure Island is still taking place.
California's "Underground" Climate Fight
Washington correspondent Tal Kopan on the growing divide between President Trump's denial of climate change and California's effort to do something about it. Part of the cooperative Climate Week media project. See sfchronicle.com/climatechallenge for more.
The Symphony in Blue Jeans
As the San Francisco Symphony opens its final season under Michael Tilson Thomas, classical music critic Joshua Kosman talks about the longtime conductor's legacy, and advises first-time symphony-goers to relax. Come as you are.
The Life and Death of Braden Varney
The Cal Fire bulldozer operator reported to the Ferguson Fire last summer to protect his community. It was his last call. Lizzie Johnson on the remarkable recovery operation that ensued as his friends and family grappled with their loss.
The Cops Who Sleep in Their Cars
San Mateo has a plan to house police officers who've become super-commuters because they can't afford the sky-high prices in that city. Reporter J.K. Dineen explains.
The Ghost Ship Verdicts
Reporter Megan Cassidy on the scene in the Alameda County courthouse as Max Harris is acquitted on 36 charges of involuntary manslaughter stemming from the 2016 warehouse fire. The jury hung on charges for master tenant Derick Almena.
Silicon Valley’s $15 million Teardown
A wealthy couple buys a big new mansion in Hillsborough. Is it their dream home? Nope. It’s a teardown. Reporter Matthias Gafni on the latest stunner in Bay Area housing.
Backlash Over Ethnic Studies Curriculum
Educators who want ethnic studies taught statewide in California schools are getting pushback from critics who say they support the idea in principle, but that the proposed teaching guidelines push racially divisive themes.
Best of Fifth & Mission: Photographing Homeless...
In this episode first published July 29, photographers Gabrielle Lurie and Jessica Christian discuss photographing homelessness during the Chronicle's 24-hour project. They talk about the challenges of photographing for 24 hours straight, keeping safe on the streets and making moving imagery under tough circumstances. We also learn about Jessica’s subject “Shorty,” and how he lives as a disabled homeless man on the streets of San Francisco.
BBQ in the Bay
In a region that has nearly every type of cuisine, good barbecue restaurants have been hard to find. That seems to be changing with an explosion of pop-ups and even some brick-and-mortars springing up in unexpected places. Can they thrive in the Bay?
Meet Mission Bay
Urban design critic John King explores the history of San Francisco's newest neighborhood, what went wrong in designing it and what he thinks of the Warriors' arena plopped in the middle of it
Broken Promises at the Hunters Point Shipyard
What led federal and city officials to back away from voter-demanded promises to completely clean radiological contamination and what is next for the nation’s most complex Superfund site? Note: An earlier edit of this episode contained an error about the timing of the Bikini Atoll nuclear tests. They began after World War II.
Esther Mobley on How to Drink Wine
The Chronicle’s wine critic shares her secrets and brings her spit bucket for a tasting session. Plus: How California vintners are adjusting to climate change, which threatens Cabernet Sauvignon, the state’s most important grape.
Oakland's Warehouse Scene After Ghost Ship
A crackdown on people living and making art in warehouses followed the deadly 2016 fire at an unsanctioned music event. But as Rachel Swan reports, bigger changes came as a result of another shift: the legalization of marijuana.
The Doctor Accused of Murder
Health reporter Erin Allday on Dr. Thomas McNeese Keller, the Santa Rosa physician who, already under investigation by the state medical board, has been charged with murder in the deaths of five patients who suffered opioid overdoses.
Justin Phillips on Black Culture in the Bay Area
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Justin Phillips talks to editor in chief Audrey Cooper about his new column on the African American experience in and around San Francisco.
How the Town Beats the City on Housing
Oakland has historically underproduced housing, but in 2019, it's on pace to finish about 2,000 more new units than San Francisco. Reporter J.K. Dineen talks about what's changed in the East Bay.
SF City Insider: An Epidemic of Untreated Menta...
Fifth & Mission presents an episode of the Chronicle podcast San Francisco City Insider. The city is compelling far fewer mentally ill people into mandated treatment. Columnist Heather Knight and City Hall reporter Dominic Fracassa discuss the rise in clearly untreated mental illness on San Francisco’s sidewalks.
Should San Francisco Buy PG&E's Power Lines?
The utility's wildfire-related bankruptcy has San Francisco looking to take over its power operation in the city. Reporters J.D. Morris and Dominic Fracassa talk about the opportunities and risks the multibillion-dollar move would present.
Swag: It’s Fun! It’s Free! It Works! It’s a Nig...
It’s a constant in the tech industry and has been for ages. The data says swag is an effective marketing tool, and sometimes the goodies are nice. But there’s a cost for the environment. Owen Thomas and Carolyn Said on “stuff we all get.”
Live Event: San Francisco Homelessness With May...
Editor in chief Audrey Cooper and homelessness reporter Kevin Fagan talk about highlights from the recent Chronicle Talks event with Mayor London Breed and a panel of homeless people and experts.
Salesforce Tower Light Show, Featuring ... YOU?
Reporter Melia Russell on new images atop Salesforce Tower. Starting this fall, the tower top will show snippets of city life that are recorded by cameras planted around San Francisco. The next version could feature a blurry image of you.
The Big Event: Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor of...
In this episode of the Chronicle podcast The Big Event, Nigel Poor and Earlonne Woods tell Peter Hartlaub about creating one of the biggest hits of the podcast boom, which brings listeners inside San Quentin State Prison. Subscribe to The Big Event, your concierge to Bay Area culture, wherever you get Fifth & Mission.
California's Secret Automaker Deal
Alexei Koseff of the Chronicle's Sacramento bureau joins Audrey Cooper to talk about the state getting four carmakers to agree to cut emissions — a deal that puts California on a collision course with the Trump administration.
On the Streets With the Homeless
Kurtis Alexander, Nanette Asimov and Evan Sernoffsky talk about reporting for the Chronicle's multimedia project "One Day, One City, No Relief: 24 hours Inside San Francisco’s Homeless Crisis."
What We Know About the Gilroy Shooter
Why did a 19-year-old man gun down three people and wound a dozen more at the Gilroy Garlic Festival? Reporter Rachel Swan on the hunt for a motive, the search of the shooter's apartment and the trend of killers fueled by online hate.
Bay Curious: Your Questions on Homelessness
In a collaboration with the NPR podcast Bay Curious from KQED, Chronicle editor in chief Audrey Cooper and reporter Kevin Fagan join host Olivia Allen-Price to answer four key questions about the homeless from listeners and readers.
Horror at the Gilroy Garlic Festival
Reporter Lizzie Johnson joins Demian Bulwa to talk about the latest on the mass shooting in Gilroy. How did the shooter get his weapon? What was his motive? And who were the people — including two children — who died in the rampage?
Photographing Homelessness For 24 Hours
Photographers Gabrielle Lurie and Jessica Christian discuss photographing homelessness during our 24-hour homelessness project. They talk about the challenges of photographing for 24-hours straight, keeping safe out on the streets and how to make moving imagery under tough circumstances. We also learn about Jessica’s subject “Shorty” and how he lives as a disabled homeless man on the streets of San Francisco.
Safe Parking for the Homeless
People living in vehicles is the next frontier in the homelessness crisis for San Francisco city officials to deal with. A new proposal would turn a parking lot near Balboa Park into a "triage center" for overnight parking and services.
Town-Gown Quarrels at Stanford & UC Berkeley
Tight housing and more students spell tension between the elite universities and the cities they live in. The city of Berkeley is suing UC, as Santa Clara County wrestles with an expanding Stanford.
Newsom Takes on PG&E Wildfire Crisis
As wildfire season began, California lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom approved a plan to shield utilities from wildfire liabilities. How does the fund work and how did Newsom navigate his first big crisis?
'Miscarriage Leave' On the Rise
Miscarriages are very common — and emotionally searing. Some Bay Area companies are offering paid leave to employees, both men and women, who have experienced losses.
A Change Could Be Coming to Prop 13
A ballot measure headed for the 2020 ballot could bring $11 billion more in tax revenues by changing the way that commercial property is taxed. But county assessors said it would be a logistical nightmare to implement. The Chronicle's senior political writer Joe Garofoli explains how some politicians are ready to grab California's infamous third rail of politics -- Prop 13.
No Straws, No Forks
Welcome to ‘Ban Francisco’! Business editor Owen Thomas and writers Carolyn Said and Elena Shao discuss the city’s latest attempt to crack down on something. In this case it’s plastic waste from all the straws, utensils, condiment packages and other accessories that come with food orders. The new rule took effect July 1 and we found that restaurants and diners are still getting used to it.
Immigration Politics in a Word: Chilling
Senior political writer Joe Garofoli explains the politics behind the citizenship question on the census, the federal immigration raids, the new asylum laws and President Trump’s racist tweets about four House members who are women of color.
What Google's $1 Billion Housing Plan Means
The tech giant's big Bay Area housing commitment is one of the largest of its kind and a sign that even the wealthiest companies are burdened by high rents. But many details are unclear.
Can Co-Living Help Make San Francisco More Affo...
While young people have long shared housing in cities, an increasing number of real estate developers are betting that co-living can work on a much larger scale. In this episode we talk about the trend, focusing on San Francisco’s starcity, which is building a 270 bedroom coliving project in San Francisco and 800-room complex in San Jose.
New Turn in Rideshare Rapist Case
A defense attorney in SF’s infamous “Rideshare Rapist” case says an illegal DNA search led police to the suspect.