Plus Berkeley policymaking and a trip to the Delta
Thanks for joining me for the 31st issue of the Golden Stats Warrior, a newsletter for data-based insights about the Bay Area. If this is your first time reading, welcome! You can sign up here. Thank you for your support!
I created this newsletter because I wanted to learn more about the Bay Area and, hopefully, help others do the same. It was a way to push myself to think locally, read locally, and act locally. Writing this newsletter has made my life so much richer. It also led me to a new job!
Starting March 15th, I will be the data editor at the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s a dream position. I get to work with the Chronicle’s awesome data and development team and bring even more data analysis and visualization to the newspaper. I will be working with data reporters and beat reporters across the newsroom to cover Covid-19, housing, crime, climate, and much more.
If you are not already a San Francisco Chronicle subscriber, I hope you will consider becoming one. Their coverage of vaccine distribution, the housing crisis, and police killings is already serving the region’s residents and holding governments to account. If you like data-oriented journalism, the Chronicle is making a real commitment to that kind of coverage by hiring me and several other great reporters. We will be hiring even more data reporters in the near future, so let me know if you know any great people.
I intend to keep writing this newsletter, but a bit less frequently over the next several months. In the meantime, if you have ideas of issues or data you think the Chronicle should be covering, please email me or send me a message on Twitter (my information is at the bottom of this newsletter).
Bay Area media recommendations of the week
A lot of fascinating policymaking has been going on in Berkeley lately, and the best place to read about it is in Berkeleyside. Here are a few examples:
Emilie Raguso reported the city’s recent policing reforms, including deprioritizing low-level traffic offenses like not wearing a seat belt. The city hopes this will reduce racial disparities in traffic stops.
The Berkeley City Council recently began a process intended to end exclusionary housing zoning in the city. Reporter Supriya Yelimeli explains that the city will attempt to ban zoning that only allows single-family houses in a neighborhood, which was developed to exclude Black families from certain parts of Berkeley. The Council also hopes that allowing for more multi-unit housing will lead to an increase in affordable housing. (Check out KQED’s great SOLD OUT podcast for more about zoning policy.)
(Seen any great Bay Area media recently? Send it to me!)
Dan’s favorite things
There is almost certainly no day trip from the Bay Area that will make residents feel more transported than visiting the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. The first time I visited, on my way home from Sacramento to Oakland, I was shocked to find a landscape and architecture that better fit my imagination of Louisiana than California.
The incredibly flat agricultural region is covered in rivers, sloughs, and canals, many of which were shaped by the late 19th century workers who converted it from swamp to arable land. Many of those workers were Chinese immigrants who were not allowed to live in central parts of core delta towns. As a result, one community of Chinese immigrants formed the town of Locke in 1915. Though few Chinese people live there today, the town has been preserved for its historical significance. I visited recently and it’s a must-see. I suggest listening to this terrific podcast from Asian Americana to better understand the history of the town.
If you think a friend might enjoy this newsletter, please forward it along. You can follow me on Twitter at @dkopf or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Golden Stats Warrior logo was made by Jared Joiner, the best friend a newsletter writer could have. Follow him @jnjoiner. Also, thanks to my favorite skeptic Kanchan Gautam for copy editing this week.