Lydia Chávez, Executive Editor
Our coverage of Mayor Ed Lee’s unexpected passing, which included Joe Eskenazi’s piece on his legacy, Julian Mark’s piece on Lee and Asians in the Mission, and Laura Wenus’ article on Lee and nonprofits. All of it was smart and balanced. I hate reading the day-after stories when the deceased is turned into a saint. Human beings are full of contradictions; politicians perhaps even more so. The stories by Eskenazi, Mark and Wenus reflect the complications in Lee’s legacy and in his relationships.
I loved Elizabeth Creely’s piece on Parcel 36 that we just put up this week. It is a long, complicated tale of Mission history and, in the end, the Mission might actually get some green space out of it.
Finally, I like the series of short profiles that Alex Palacios Calderon, a sophomore in high school, wrote for People We Meet. Alex did an excellent job, and it is rewarding to see young journalists take advantage of being at Mission Local. We’re not a nonprofit, and we’re not profitable, but a lot of young reporters have started their careers here, improving their skills and giving you great coverage. For those of you who are members, you’ve all been a part of making that happen. Many, many thanks.
Laura Wenus, Managing Editor
Too often, we watch stories that seem superficial or unimportant (celebrity and crime news) draw thousands of clicks, while pieces we’ve poured our heart and soul into — or that we feel should really have an impact — get passed over. Here are a few of my favorites from this year that, while readers did seem to show an interest, ended up underrated:
Joe’s very keenly observed column points out the immense hypocrisy of our nations’ response to the killing of Kate Steinle, while failing to be moved by the murder of a promising young man, Abel Esquivel, who was killed under similar circumstances (by undocumented immigrants with a weapon stolen from a law-enforcement officer). I was proud to have written an obituary about Esquivel, and I think Joe’s piece offered the very salient political context to that tragedy, without exacerbating the hysterics of our national discourse about immigration.
I loved this short piece about a local who deserves more recognition for her incredible dedication to her values and her neighborhood. Nancy is so focused on helping raise the next generation of Mission youth that a casual outside observer might not know how mulitfaceted her activism is.
In the oh-so-bespoke foodie scene of San Francisco, it’s so refreshing to see the term “pop-up” refer to something down-to-earth and truly local and fun. This is a food story that doesn’t list the chef’s resume, doesn’t include some form of upscale cultural appropriation and doesn’t have to brag about creating an intimate environment, because it’s happening in your local bar.
Lt. Williams has garnered plenty of media attention, but this profile after her promotion offered both an update on the police department’s progress toward reforms and a personal look at Williams as a person.
Julian Mark, Reporter
Maybe it’s unfair to mention a piece twice, but Elizabeth Creely’s story about a forgotten parcel on 22nd and Harrison was really that good, and unequivocally my favorite of the year. Ms. Creely leads us down the rabbit hole of the empty lot’s history, revealing a cast of characters and competing interests, and rightly suggesting that more — perhaps tense — history behind the unclaimed land has yet to unfold.
“Politics runs in this city’s water like fluoride …” writes columnist Joe Eskenazi in his examination of the “I Am Not A Monster” ad campaign, which was launched by the still-would-be developer of the 1979 Mission housing project at 16th and Mission. Only Mr. Eskenazi’s analysis could have captured the hand-to-forehead head-shaking of the public officials actually tasked with green-lighting the project, as well as the absurdity of the campaign’s intentions.
What a scoop. Anyone who has frequented the Mission in the last ten or so years might have wondered how the decaying building at 18th and Mission could still be there, untransformed, unutilized. Wonder no more, reports Ms. Wenus in her recent story about how a local nonprofit is developing the building into 100 percent affordable housing and a home for both a dance studio and a nonprofit. It will be a game-changer.