Category Archives: City Visions
Anti-Social Internet & Entertainment Addictions Can Save Energy

On Monday night’s City Vision show on teen use of smart phones, researchers discussed how teens are now much more anti-social and depressed as they lack face-to-face contact and surf in isolation. Adults aren’t much better, as many of us get “tech neck” staring at devices.

But there may be an upside: saved energy use and therefore reduced greenhouse gas emissions. As the New York Times reported, all this staying at home has some environmental upsides:

Researchers found that, on average, Americans spent 7.8 more days at home in 2012, compared to 2003. They calculated that this reduced national energy demand by 1,700 trillion BTUs in 2012, or 1.8 percent of the nation’s total energy use.

The lifestyle shift was especially pronounced among 18- to 24-year-olds, who spent an extra 14 days at home and roughly four days less in travel. The findings represent a significant change in lifestyle in less than 10 years. Those fewer travel days are particularly important when it comes to saving energy.

I suppose the same phenomenon might be observed as more Americans switch to “downer” drugs like legalized cannabis, which compared to alcohol might encourage people to stay home more.

We certainly don’t need more isolation and anti-social behavior in our society, but the energy upsides at least provide some consolation. But how about a compromise? If we make our neighborhoods more walkable and transit-friendly, going out for socializing could have a smaller carbon footprint.

But in the meantime, if you stay in this weekend, at least you can feel good about your overall energy consumption, if not your energy output.

The Dangerous Downside of Technology for Teens — City Visions Tonight At 7pm, KALW 91.7 FM

Is there a dangerous downside to growing up with smart phones and social media? Today’s teens are glued to their phones and virtually connected to each other like never before. And yet the rates of teen depression and loneliness are skyrocketing.

Join me tonight at 7pm on City Visions to discuss whether smartphones are destroying a generation of kids. My guests include:

  • Sue Porter, PhD, Dean of Students at The Bay School of San Francisco
  • Jean Twenge, PhD, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of iGen: Why Today’s Super Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.
  • Colby Zintl, Vice President of External Affairs at Common Sense

Listeners in the San Francisco Bay Area can tune in at 91.7 FM, or you can stream it on-line. Please call or email with your questions in the meantime or during the live show. Hope you can tune in!

The Bay Area’s Fight To Save Net Neutrality — Tonight On City Visions, KALW Radio At 7pm

Net neutrality rules are designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast from discriminating against websites and apps based on content or rate structures. The Obama Administration enshrined these rules in regulation back in 2015, but a Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal them in December.

Tonight on City Visions we’ll discuss the future of net neutrality rules at the local, state and federal level and how it may impact a region like the San Francisco Bay Area. Specifically, what impact would repeal have on the digital economy?  How are Bay Area cities, Silicon Valley, and state government responding?  And what will the rule change mean for your internet service?

Joining me to discuss:

As always, please call or email with your questions. You can tune in live on KALW 91.7 FM or stream starting at 7pm. Hope to hear from you on the air!

Impacts Of Federal Tax Changes — My Takeaways From Monday’s City Visions Discussion

On Monday night, I hosted a discussion on City Visions on the impacts on California of the new federal tax law. You can listen to the audio, but here are some of my takeaways from our expert panel:

  • The new law was mostly about making the U.S. corporate tax rate competitive with other countries through a massive cut. Nations are now apparently in a “race to the bottom” to keep corporate profits in-country by lowering their rates, and this bill only ups the ante.
  • The corporate changes will likely face challenges under World Trade Organization provisions.
  • Many of the individual tax benefits are temporary and set to expire in the coming years.
  • High cost “blue state” efforts to blunt the impact to their taxpayers from the loss of state and local tax exemptions are unlikely to be viable in the long run. Whether states set up a charitable fund for people to pay state taxes (as California is seriously contemplating) or shift income taxes to employers (as New York is investigating), the IRS and/or Congress is likely to challenge these arrangements, creating uncertainty going forward that most taxpayers won’t want to bear.
  • In the long run, the best way for states to minimize the impacts of the bill on their taxpayers is through new federal legislation.
  • The bill is incredibly complex, and because Republicans never held a single hearing on it, it’s riddled with errors and oversights that will need to be corrected.
  • Some taxpayers will be in for a big shock, such as those who recently got divorced and were planning to deduct alimony payments but can now no longer do so. Overall, most people have no idea at this point how the law will affect them.

Ultimately, this is a good time to be a CPA, as Californians (and most Americans) will be sifting through the changes in this law for months — if not years — to come.

How Will The Federal Tax Law Affect California? Join Us Tonight On City Visions

With Republicans in Congress passing a last-minute tax bill before the holidays, Californians are still sorting out what the new law will mean for them. With many residents slated to pay more in taxes, given the elimination of some longstanding exemptions, state lawmakers are looking for ways to address the bill’s impact on California.

To discuss the tax law, please join me tonight on City Visions on KALW radio 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area at 7pm. Guests include:

  • Alan Auerbach – director of the Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance at UC Berkeley, where he is also a professor of economics and law;
  • Bob Caplan – a certified public accountant in the Bay Area with 40 years experience preparing for individual, corporate, partnership, and fiduciary tax returns; and
  • State Senator Ben Allen – representative of the 26th district in LA County in the California State Senate.

Please call, email or tweet us with your questions. How will tax reform affect you? What policy response, if any, should California adopt in the face of these federal changes? Tune in or stream tonight!

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Interview With California State Senator Scott Wiener On City Visions, Tonight At 7pm

undefinedScott Wiener, San Francisco’s state senator elected in 2016, has already authored some landmark legislation on housing (SB 35), and he’s co-authored other measures related to transportation and leading the state resistance to the Trump administration.

I’ll be interviewing him tonight on City Visions at 7pm to discuss these issues and what Sen. Wiener sees on tap legislatively and politically for the state in 2018. Tune in on KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area or stream it live. We welcome your questions and comments!

What Have Uber & Lyft Done To Bay Area Traffic & Transit? Tonight On City Visions

Ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft have transformed travel patters in the San Francisco Bay Area and elsewhere. Tonight on City Visions, we’ll look at the impacts of these companies on traffic and transit.

Has ride-hailing decreased car ownership, as promised? Does it increase traffic congestion? What about its impact on public transit use? Can our existing infrastructure support this burgeoning practice?

Joining me to discuss will be:

You can see an interactive map created by SFCTA of Uber and Lyft pick ups and drop offs in San Francisco, as an example of their impacts.

Tune in with your questions at 7pm tonight, 91.7 FM KALW in the Bay Area or on the web.

Rebuilding Fire-Ravaged Northern California Sustainably — Tonight On City Visions

The wildfires that devastated Northern California this month claimed over 40 lives and nearly 9000 structures. But as businesses reopen and people return to their neighborhoods, what is being done to ensure future resilience in our fire-prone communities?

Should we rebuild in the same way, or allow more walkable, compact development? What role does water management play in the rebuilding effort?  And how can you prevent fire damage to your home and property?

Join me tonight on City Visions as I discuss these issues with:

You can tune in on KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area at 7pm or stream live on the web. Hope you can join the conversation with your questions and comments!

Is San Francisco Making Progress On Homelessness? City Visions Tonight At 7pm

San Francisco spends over $275 million a year to address homelessness, but are city leaders making progress?  Anyone who walks through San Francisco’s streets would otherwise think the homelessness problem is getting worse than ever.

Tonight on City Visions we’ll talk to experts about how we can house our homeless in one of the most expensive real estate markets in the country. We’ll discuss some of the newest initiatives — particularly which ones might make a difference, when past ones have failed. We’ll also look at the role of the federal government to address the challenge.

Joining me for the discussion will be:

Tune in at 7pm on KALW 91.7 FM in the San Francisco Bay Area or stream it live, and let us know your questions!

Is Racial Segregation In The San Francisco Bay Area Getting Worse? Tonight on City Visions

Residents of the San Francisco Bay Area may pride themselves for being part of one the most diverse cities in the nation.  But both data and anecdotal evidence indicate that the area’s extraordinary economic growth in recent years has led to growing inequality and racial segregation. With rents and home prices soaring, low-income and minority populations are being pushed out from job-rich urban centers.

What is the social, economic and environmental impact of low-wage earners living further and further outside the cities where they work?  Can housing policies reverse these trends?  And what does this mean for a region that prides itself on its identity as a bastion of progressive politics?

To hear a discussion about these issues and more, tune in tonight at 7pm to City Visions on KALW, local public radio.  Guests include:

  • Miriam Chion, lecturer at U.C. Berkeley in the Department of City and Regional Planning.
  • Chris Schildt, Senior Associate at PolicyLink.
  • Tony Roshan Samara, Program Director of Land Use and Housing at Urban Habitat.

Tune in or stream it live on KALW 91.7 FM.  And please call, email or tweet us with your questions.

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