Culture & Identity Stories
In 2020, I dove into the world of public radio as a producer for Forum, a daily news and public affairs program on KQED in San Francisco. Forum is one of the nation's most listened-to radio programs. I have produced segments on a variety of issues such as the economy, racism, social issues, real estate, immigration, literature, politics, and pop culture.
At my core, I am a storyteller always striving to help my audience understand the world and why it is the way it is. I focus on telling the untold story with context and nuance.
Previously, I covered business topics including retail, consumer issues, employment, economic development and real estate for more than 15 years at major daily and weekly newspapers.
I have been based in the Bay Area for most of my career. I spent a decade on and off with the San Francisco Business Times writing about major real estate deals, news, trends, key players and policies that influence the Bay Area's economy and people. I excelled at breaking news on a daily basis while taking time to write in-depth enterprise pieces. During my time there, I won 10 awards from the National Association of Real Estate Editors and several awards from the California News Publishers Association.
From 2014 to 2016, I wrote about the economy and how it affects people's everyday lives for The Seattle Times. I also wrote book reviews and served as an editorial writer and columnist. My columns won an award from the Northwest Excellence in Journalism contest.
Culture & Identity Stories
Many Latinos who identify as Black or of African descent have felt sidelined in broader discussions of race and ethnicity. In recent years, advocates and scholars have called for the experience of Black Latinos to be given greater consideration during Black History Month.
Chalino Sánchez's rise to superstardom was cut short by his still unsolved murder in 1992. Sánchez’s remarkable story takes on new life in Idolo: The Ballad of Chalino Sánchez, an eight-part podcast co-produced by Futuro Media and Sonoro that dropped onto streaming platforms on Feb. 1.
I first remember seeing Vicente Fernández perform on the Mexican television show Siempre en Domingo, when I was a kid growing up in Eastern Washington. Fernández, who died on Dec. 12 at 81 years old, would amble across the stage in his charro outfit, backed by an expansive ensemble of mariachi musicians also decked out in charro gear. Like many Mexican Americans, I often heard Fernández’s music on the radio, in the car and at seemingly every party. He provided a soundtrack for our lives....
In 2020, California saw a 70% increase in kids being diagnosed with anxiety or depression, which experts say can't be separated from parents and caregivers' struggles - and children of color are suffering the most. Here's how one family used therapy and other tools to address stress and grief.
In California, 1 in 8 children was diagnosed with anxiety or depression in 2020, a 70% increase from 2016 when 1 in 14 received a similar diagnosis, according to a 2022 report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Demand for mental health services for children has swelled as expressions of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts have increased alarmingly — a situation experts have labeled a crisis. But while parents are told to “get help” for their children, they often run into one or two...
We meet a mom from East Palo Alto named Jasmine Cuevas, who has spent years trying to help her kids cope with anxiety and trauma. They’re among a rising number of children across California struggling with their emotional and mental health. Experts and policymakers call the situation a crisis – one that was brewing before the pandemic and then intensified when schools shut down and kids spent months isolated from the outside world.
The state senator from San Francisco wants to get more housing built in California. If only it were that easy.
Water defines the Bay Area, even its name. For most if its history, though, much of the bayfront was closed off to residents. In the 1960s, only about four miles of the 400 to 500 miles of shoreline was accessible. Today, the bayfront looks far different and another wave of change is coming. A slew of small and large development projects promise to bring tens of thousands of new homes, millions of square feet of commercial space, and hundreds of acres of public parks, trails and open space to...
Even with job growth in overdrive, many residents continue to resist adding new housing in their communities
Lively streets, shopping opportunities, interesting places to hang out and proximity to work -- it’s a trend becoming known as “hipsturbia” (hipster + suburbia) or “surban” (suburban + urban).
To its fans, California’s historic 1978 tax-cutting measure retains its youthful vigor four decades on. Are they ignoring signs of an impending mid-life crisis?
Many in the commercial real estate industry often find themselves "the only one in the room" who is different. White males still dominate in many professional settings in commercial real estate and especially in the executive ranks.
Secondary units could add thousands of new homes to the Bay Area. Building one faces many hurdles, but new companies are trying to change that.
Housing developer RAD Urban is scheduled to start churning out modules for two towers in Oakland — the first modular highrises on the West Coast.
Seattle and San Francisco have a lot in common, from tech-dominated economies to highly educated populations to left-of-center politics. But they couldn't be more different in one key aspect: housing production. In recent years, both cities have added thousands of new jobs, turning up the volume on housing demand.
The Golden State is under supplied by 3.4 million homes to meet its current housing needs, according to a report on housing underproduction from Up for Growth California, a nonprofit research and advocacy group. The national shortfall is 7.3 million homes, which means California makes up about half of that total.
Inside a cavernous industrial building where the U.S. Navy built hundreds of ships for overseas combat, longtime Bay Area housing developer Rick Holliday is battling a crisis closer to home: the Bay Area's dire need for more housing.
The Palo Alto City Council approved a plan to build 16 single-family homes on a former orchard on Maybell Avenue. The news was "painful" for Candice Gonzalez of the Palo Alto Housing Corp., which had planned to build 60 units of low-income senior housing and 12 single-family homes on the same property just four years ago.
Vinh Son Nguyen has a lot riding on a nondescript 92,000 square-foot warehouse in West Oakland. The property houses a logistics business, but it also holds Nguyen's hopes of establishing a new life in the U.S..
S.F. will add more new apartments this year than in decades. With rents falling and landlords competing for tenants, some observers say it's proof that supply and demand can help address our housing shortage. But any relief is likely to be temporary -construction is already slowing again
After years of high unemployment, Oakland is undergoing an economic boom. The boom has drawn backlash from residents and activists who say the city's newfound prosperity is leaving out - or pushing out - longtime residents who don't earn high salaries and people of color, especially African Americans, who fear the Oakland they once knew and loved is going away.
Condos are fairly rare in the Seattle area's housing market. Some who might opt for a condo wind up competing for more prevalent single-family homes, driving prices higher. Share story Kelley and Craig Dobbs, in their 50s, sold their 5,000-square-foot home in Sammamish and downsized into a $1 million-plus, two-bedroom condo in a luxury tower in Belltown with killer downtown views.
Uber is seeking to sell the former Sears department store it is rehabbing in Oakland and will vacate offices on San Francisco's Market Street to consolidate in Mission Bay. Uber is looking to sell the large Oakland office project where it once planned to establish a major East Bay beachhead, the company has confirmed.
The $3,000 studio is the starter unit among the thousands of new apartments that have hit the San Francisco market in the last four years. Despite the sky-high prices, developers are managing to find plenty of renters for luxury apartments.
The city's multistep minimum-wage law, heading to $15 for all by 2021, has lifted up some low-income earners, shaken up some business models and stirred up controversy while prompting similar moves elsewhere. Share story A year after Seattle's minimum-wage increase went into effect, Tegegne Desta Yigzaw is bringing home larger paychecks.
Recyclers are fighting to stay alive as tanking commodity prices bring down the value of recycled industrial and post-consumer materials. Share story During the past year, the Recycling Depot has slashed its workforce to 15 employees from 35 as it struggles with plunging prices and a lack of demand for scrap metal.
Some older workers re-entering the labor market struggle because of outdated skills or a lack of technologically savvy - not to mention age bias. A local program can help smooth their return to the workforce. Share story Rebecca Austin moved back to the Seattle area two years ago, excited to spend more time with her only son and start over after three decades in Honolulu.
The low inventory of homes for sale has turned the Seattle region into an "extreme seller's market," where prices continue climbing and buyers have fewer options. For a look at prices in your area, see the interactive map. Share story Would-be homebuyers in the Puget Sound area continue to face slim pickings in a tight housing market.
Washington state hit a sweet spot of both strong employment and wage growth in the fourth quarter, according a recent report on the private-sector workforce. Share story Contrary to the popular perception that American wages are stagnant, wages are going up for some full-time workers - those who have been employed for more than a year - according to the most recent ADP Workforce Vitality Report, which analyzes private-sector job and wage growth.
The first Boeing 727 - a model that became one of the company's top-selling planes of all time - will take to the skies one last time after a 25-year restoration effort. It's bound for its final home, the Museum of Flight.
Tech entrepreneurs see an industry that’s ripe for transition into the digital age. From new tools linking buyers, sellers and agents to closing deals online, everything’s subject to change.
No longer experimental, ‘egg freezing’ has gone mainstream for Bay Area women looking to preserve their fertility.
New Bay Area brands are giving tequila fresh flavor and sophistication. You can leave the lime and the salt shaker at home.
Connie Moore’s career at BRE Properties started with a white polyester suit that she wore to an interview. The suit made her feel confident, professional and “smug” enough to ask for a job even though she was six months away from finishing her undergraduate degree. She decided she could learn just as much at work as she could at school. “The CEO didn’t want to hire me,” Moore said. “He was worried about, ‘What’s my wife going to say when I travel with (you)?’”
The Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco’s most iconic building, could soon have a new owner.
For decades, members of the Fifth Church of Christ Scientist contemplated turning their church in San Francisco’s gritty Tenderloin neighborhood into housing. In recent years, as thousands of people have been priced out of the city and homelessness surged, the idea gained urgency. But, like many people who want to build housing in San Francisco, they are now tangled in a complex approvals process. That’s to be expected, but what church leaders didn’t expect is what they are calling an...
After years of hype, Salesforce Tower, poised to be the tallest building in San Francisco and arguably the West Coast, is coming to fruition with construction crews putting a roof on the 61-story high rise. Boston Properties and Hines, the developers behind tower, marked the construction milestone, known as a topping off, on Thursday morning.
With an anchor tenant locked in, Shorenstein Properties restarted construction this month on a 24-story office tower in Oakland - the city's first new office highrise in nearly a decade. "It's is very inspiring particularly given the nine-year hiatus that we went through," said Todd Sklar, head of development for Shorenstein, of seeing the construction crews back at work on the 600,000-square-foot building.
Finding out their jobs were going away was hard enough for many employees of Seven Salon in Seattle - but receiving the news via text made it worse. Share story Some employees at Seven Salon in downtown Seattle's Pacific Place mall found it odd when they were sent home early Saturday evening.
Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg was in Seattle to underscore how the bank's help to big exporters such as Boeing is crimped by political opponents who haven't allowed the agency to fill its roster of board members.
SeaTac workers at 14 companies have filed lawsuits seeking class-action status that allege their employers have been paying them less than the $15 per hour called for under the minimum-wage ordinance approved by the city's voters in 2013.
A new report ranking economic development in the nation's top 100 metropolitan areas confirms what some Seattleites know all too well: The region's thriving economy has not spread gains evenly, particularly leaving out low-wage workers.
I watched Election Day coverage from a hospital bed. Like millions of Americans, news that Republican Donald Trump was on his way to winning the presidency of the United States stunned me. I delivered my first child via cesarean only two days earlier.
While it may seem odd that Richard "Cheech" Marin visited Seattle to talk to a group of business students, he shared a relevant message. Share story Many people may not be aware - but should know - that Richard "Cheech" Marin has done much more in his life than smoke marijuana.
Skin color matters because people attach false stereotypes and prejudice. As a nation, we can do better, but we need more understanding. Share story Revelations that a white woman, Rachel Dolezal, lied about being black shocked many Americans.
Share story The authors behind Thug Kitchen, an expletive-ridden food blog and cookbook, were looking forward to visiting Seattle this week to discuss their vegan recipes and America's relationship with food. They packed their suitcases only to learn Monday they were uninvited.
Last week's election ushered in the first Latino presence on the Seattle City Council signaling progress for women and people of color that is long overdue. Share story Forget diversity, it's time to talk about inclusion, says Lorena González, one of the first two Latinas to be elected to the Seattle City Council.
The proof is at the polls: Latino voters need to step up their voting game. Along with celebrating food, music and culture during National Hispanic Heritage Month, a new tradition should take hold this year: registering to vote. In the past few months, the rise of Donald Trump as offender-in-chief infuriated many in the Latino community.
A police shooting in Pasco poses an opportunity for the community to confront racial tension. Share story PASCO - On a recent afternoon in his City Hall office, Pasco Police Chief Bob Metzger recalled his meeting with the family of Antonio Zambrano-Montes after the man was gunned down by police.
Pasco has gone viral because of a police shooting - that's not how I want my hometown to be known. All the media attention could serve as a call for better policing. Share story Pasco is one of those towns few know much about unless you grew up there.
When I first heard that Washington lawmakers proposed a law that would require public schools to teach Native American history, culture and government, my reaction was: why? This is 2015, not 1950! How is it possible that Washington - my dear, progressive home state - could be failing to teach important aspects of state history?
Nayomi Munaweera's second novel, "What Lies Between Us," goes deep into the troubled background of a Sri Lankan woman to explore what leads her to commit a terrible act. Munaweera appears Thursday, March 3, at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co. Share story In her new novel, author Nayomi Munaweera takes on the subject of motherhood - and completely defaces it.
Janice Y.K. Lee's new novel "The Expatriates" follows three American women as they try to find themselves in the exotic cultural mix of Hong Kong. Lee appears Tuesday, Jan. 19, at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co. Share story Foreigners who move to exotic Hong Kong might expect to find reprieve from their lives back home and anonymity among the bustling metropolis.
In "Grant Park," Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. intertwines stories of two men, one black, one white, to show how far America has progressed in matters of race, and how far it still has to go. Pitts appears Nov. 11 at Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co.