Monday, December 10, 2007

"Save the News"!/ Upper Market Workshop

"Save the News"! A conversation about journalism and democracy.
Panel discussion at CounterPulse last night.
Carl Hall (Chronicle science reporter and organizer for Northern California Media Workers (leave of absense from Chronicle in order to organize workers)
Rose Aguilar (KALW-FM, Your Call radio)
Barry Parr ( and co-founder of Mercury Center and
Michael Stoll (Grade the News, SJSU, San Francisco Public Press )
Josh Wilson (

Everyone agreed this is a depressing subject. The panelists and even the audience did not all agree.
Discussion about organizing the East Bay ."One Big Bang" - in regards to organizing within MediaNews Group.
There was discussion about the relevance of the news being reported and how radio fills a void (especially in regards to foreign news).
One person said it was not the internet that is the cause for the problems of newspapers but television. (Craigs' list doesn't help).
A number of people were feeling encouraged because different avenues are being taken (i.e. new newspapers on the internet and even the possibility that there could be a online "public newspaper") i.e. KQED. (This sounds like a great idea - I think people in San Francisco would pay for an online newspaper if they thought they were getting "San Francisco news").

A number of people said we should demand more from the major media. The Chronicle only has 300 employees - out of that there are 60 to 80 reporters. That is why you cannot not depend on the Chronicle for local San Francisco news.
People were asked to raise their hands if they thought that Chronicle was a good paper? Know one raised their hands. They then asked if they wanted the Chronicle to go away. Know one raised their hands. I personally want to help the Chronicle and that is why I try and buy the paper everyday - even though some days (especially Monday's) it is a waste of money.;;;;

Upper Market Workshop-

Meeting held Monday night at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy in the Castro. City Planners spent time explaining their vision in regards to Upper Market. There is a certain "planning vocabulary" that you begin to understand after going to these type workshops. The planners talked about livability, pedestrian realm, street-engaging buildings, open space, community serving uses. Most people in this area would probably tell you they like their neighborhood the way it is (but times are changing and it is better to have some "control" over the changes ).
Pedestrian and transit-oriented improvements - traffic calming are a big part of this study. There was very careful wording presented about allowing higher buildings at the intersections - I don't think the neighborhood wants higher density.

Items include rethinking the Safeway site, culture and community uses (which would be great!).
Celebrate the many identities of the area. This plan will take time over many years. At least people are talking about the issues - which is a start.

San Francisco Planning Department c/o Sarah Dennis, 1650 Mission Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, Ca. 94103-2479 - Phone 415-558-6314,

Calendar Items:

December 17th 2007 - Monday

Homeless Community Meeting in the Sunset -
7 p.m. Sunset Recreation Center, 2201 Lawton Avenue (29th Ave. and Lawton). Information: Supervisor Carmen Chu 415-554-7460

December 18th 2007 - Tuesday

Divisadero Community Workshop -
7 to 9 p.m. Ida B. Wells High School (1099 Hayes Street) to discuss Divisadero Streetscape improvements project including traffic study. Information: 415-554-6479

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