Robert — San Francisco
The most pressing issue in the city and county of San Francisco, and many other parts of California, is lack of affordable housing. And lack of adequate construction. There are discretionary reviews for projects [that must be] shepherded through the approval process; it takes a very, very long time. It adds to the construction cost to the building, the interest cost on the loans, as well as housing losses that have been created by the abolishing the urban-renewal agencies in California, which was a huge source in terms of the creation of housing, like Golden Gateway apartments in San Francisco and Japantown. There’s practically a day that does not go buy that you don’t hear about the housing crisis in California.
Phil — San Francisco
I think that FUS the Friends of the Urban Forest and the trees on the streets of San Francisco is a grave issue; it’s now transitioned from the responsibility of the property owner. [Regarding] greenhouse gases and air quality, I think that the tree maintenance along our avenues and streets is very important.
Steebie — Bay Area / North Bay
I think that the most important local news story in the Bay Area right now is PG&E’s involvement in potentially starting the Santa Rosa fires.
Aneliese — Los Angeles / Pasedena
The most important local news story for our area, at least for me in the Los Angeles-Pasadena area, is the story about the Walt Disney Company and the LA Times. Recently the LA Times wrote an article detailing the different business dealings that Disney has with Anaheim, where its Disneyland and California Adventure parks are. And after that article was published, the Walt Disney company banned the LA Times from their movie previews going forward. From Disney’s point of view they claim that it’s a privilege to be invited to those videos or screenings rather, that it’s not a right by journalists. But blacklisting any journalist for an article that you don’t necessarily like, I think, sets a really dangerous precedent especially in our current political climate. And I’m really disappointed in the Walt Disney Company. Especially in California, which is liberal-minded and tries to keep an open mind in such a difficult time.
But luckily other news organizations banded together — the New York Times, along with other outlets around the country — to say that they would also be boycotting any Disney screenings until the LA Times was allowed to reenter. And so because of that pressure the Walt Disney Company has since rescinded its ban of the LA Times and released a statement explaining their dealings with different journalists and outlets.
Which I find not completely enlightening, but at least they understood that the backlash was negative on their company. As a former Walt Disney Company employee I’m disappointed in them but I’m glad that they rescinded it and I’m glad that it shows that journalism still does have power in this country. And if journalists stick together, there is power in numbers, and fighting different forms of censorship around the country.