No, I mean REALLY local news. Not what the local TV stations or newspapers who are owned by large out of town companies [anyone else noticed that the Examiner always suggest that San Franciscans vote for the Republican candidates in the elections?] I’m talking about those little free newspapers like the Westside Observer, Sunset Beacon, West Portal Monthly or Richmond Review that talk about what’s really happening in your neighborhood.
I don’t know if the Mission District, Financial District, Nob Hill or Pacific Heights have their own papers but if they don’t they should. When I want to find out what really makes people tick I turn to these papers. I was eating my lunch while looking over a copy of the Westside Observer only to find out that the Recreation and Parks Department got $185 million dollars to upgrade and refurbish all the playgrounds in the city then Mayor Newsom told RPD they had to cut their budget after updating and upgrading all the playgrounds so what did they do? They fired all the people who run the playgrounds and locked up the club houses. They’re even thinking of leasing out the clubhouse of the J.P. Murphy park to a private client who will have more access to the club house and playground than the people who live in the neighborhood.
These newspapers tell you what the city isn’t doing right and while I’d like to think we’re perfect, when you start reading through a copy of one of these papers you realize we aren’t. There’s a medical marijuana dispensary that wants to open up a few blocks from my house on Taraval street. Sunset Beacon had that one covered with the pros and cons. I have to admit most of the cons came from people who didn’t seem to have any experience with drugs or drug related crime, but that’s just my opinion.
As far as I can tell, none of the writers get paid for what they do. Several have former supervisors, politicians or famous locals writing for them and in most cases they give a pretty good perspective on the neighborhoods. These are the newspapers where I find out when the Mayor or our local Supervisor Carmen Chu is have a meet up where people can talk about the problems they’re having in the neighborhood. I’ve been to a couple of them and found them very interesting. I wouldn’t have found out about them if I went to the Chronicle or Examiner. I also get to find out about local businesses in my neighborhood because they’re the people who are covering the costs to keep the free papers free. If you’re not from SF, but visiting here these are the newspapers you should check out. It’ll definitely give you more info about what’s going on in San Francisco than the bigger papers. The best place to find them is at one of the local libraries.