TIME cities

Officials Consider Golden Gate Bridge Toll for Pedestrians

The Golden Gate Bridge on Nov. 15, 2006 in San Francisco.
The Golden Gate Bridge on Nov. 15, 2006 in San Francisco. Eric Risberg — AP

Charging tourists to walk across the national landmark could be one way the bridge authority tackles a growing deficit problem

Officials in California are considering a proposal that would implement tolls for pedestrians and cyclists who cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Charging money to traverse the popular tourist attraction is one of more than 40 solutions that special district authorities considered Friday, in an effort to avoid a projected deficit of more than $200 million.

The body that oversees the bridge, known as the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, says that if no changes are made to current operations, they expect to be running at a deficit of $33 million in five years, up to $210 million in 10 years. The authority recently committed to new projects like helping to fund a $76 million suicide net, in addition to paying for expensive upkeep that will make the bridge more resistant to earthquakes.

About 10,000 pedestrians roll across the Golden Gate Bridge every day, according to current estimates from the district, along with 6,000 bikes, and charging them could help offset such costs. Though a district official told TIME that the new toll proposals were unlikely to see the light of day after the district’s Board of Directors heard them Friday—given how politically unpopular pedestrian and cyclist fees would be—they remained in the financial plan after a narrow vote of 10-9.

That doesn’t mean tourists will start forking up cash tomorrow. Still to come, a district official said, may be years of study about exactly how many people use the bridge and whether both tourists and locals should be charged; analyses of what effective price points might be; and, almost certainly, contentious public hearings before a final vote.

The district is likely to seek other savings through outsourcing jobs and labor negotiations, as well as the most traditional source: increased fares for the some 40 million cars that traverse the bridge each year. Only those vehicles traveling southbound, into the city, are charged the basic toll of $7, which may be increased to $8 in the near future.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 22

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. Don’t conflate a cause with its celebrity.

By Kriss Dieglmeier at the Tides Foundation

2. Handwashing and Ebola: Understanding the power of a proven public health intervention.

By Hanna Woodburn in Ebola Deeply

3. President Obama has remade the federal courts by appointing more women and non-white judges than ever before. The impact will far outlast his administration.

By Jeffrey Toobin in the New Yorker

4. It’s vital that new pre-K initiatives are designed to build a high-quality foundation for learning.

By Beverly Falk in Hechinger Report

5. Trafficked workers — who often enter the country legally before being exploited — power many American cities.

By Tanvi Misra in Citylab

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME cities

Airbnb Is Nearly Legal In San Francisco

Airbnb logo

After months of heated debate among rental platforms, hosts and lawmakers, city leaders voted to regulate and allow short-term rentals

Updated, Wednesday Oct. 22, 11:25 a.m. ET

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 Tuesday to legalize short-term rentals facilitated by companies like Airbnb, while requiring hosts who use such services to collect taxes like more typical hotel operators do. If Mayor Ed Lee approves the proposal, home-sharing will officially be legal in the City by the Bay.

The new law, proposed by Board President David Chiu in April, also sets up a regulatory framework for this branch of the sharing economy, including a registry for all hosts and rules about who is and is not allowed to offer tourists a place on their couch. The final vote came after months of debate, hearings and lobbying on both sides.

“Everyone agrees that the status quo is not working,” Chiu told TIME shortly before the vote. “We have seen an explosion of short-term rentals without any regulatory or enforcement structure to handle this new activity. . . . This is a balanced, reasonable approach.”

An op-ed from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein arguing against the legislation, published by the San Francisco Chronicle on Monday, helped reignite previous debates about whether the legislation should include amendments limiting rentals to a total of 90 days per year (in order to help preserve the “residential character” of neighborhoods) or requiring that all hosting platforms pay back taxes before the law goes into effect.

Both amendments eventually failed. Those who supported the back tax requirement, which Feinstein called “commonsense,” said that companies like Airbnb should have been collecting and remitting hotel taxes since they started operating. Those who opposed the back taxes amendment argued that there might be drawn-out legal battles over those bills, saying the city could not afford to wait to start regulating short-term rentals—especially because, under the new law, business facilitated by companies like Airbnb will funnel an estimated $11 million per year into the city’s coffers.

Those opposed to the 90-day limit, meanwhile, argued it would limit the amount of income available to hosts who rely on short-term rentals to maintain their residence in the city. Before this law was passed, San Francisco prohibited any rentals for less than 30 days, a rule put in place to help preserve rental stock for full-time San Franciscans rather than tourists.

The new law will allow locals to rent out only their primary residences, a caveat meant to stop landlords who have taken apartments off the market to rent them out full-time on platforms like Airbnb as long-time residents struggle to find housing.

Chiu said that Airbnb fought many pieces that were in the final version of the legislation, such as the tax-collection requirement and the mandate that every host has insurance coverage. “No one got everything they wanted,” he said. Renters must also adhere to their existing contracts. The new law does not, for instance, trump any lease that prohibits a person from renting out their apartment, though it does prevent them from being evicted on their first offense.

At the Tuesday hearing, short-term rental supporters filled the seats of the hearing room in City Hall, raising their arms and twiddling their fingers in support of lawmakers who made arguments for the legislation. And they broke into cheers, despite the prohibition on noise-making, after it passed.

“This is about real, live people of San Francisco who rely on home-sharing . . . to put a new roof on their house, to put their kids through college,” Supervisor Scott Wiener said during the debate, to much finger twiddling. “What we’re doing is allowing people to actually make ends meet.”

TIME housing

Berkeley May Ban ‘No-Pet’ Restrictions on Apartments

Avocado
A dog named Avocado looks over a cliff overlooking the fog-covered Pacific Ocean while on a hike on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, in San Francisco. Marcio Jose Sanchez — ASSOCIATED PRESS

The all-pets-welcome rule that would be the first of its kind in the nation is raising landlords' hackles

Updated Oct. 21, 3:07 p.m. ET

According to Craigslist, there are about 14,867 apartments and houses available for rent in the San Francisco Bay Area as of late October. Limit those to apartments that are cat- and dog-friendly, and the rental stock plummets to less than one-third that number. But residents in Berkeley may soon find themselves less limited, if a new proposal to outlaw pet restrictions passes muster.

Berkeley City Councilman Jesse Arreguin is expected on Tuesday to officially ask the city’s housing and animal care commissions to explore the effects of banning “no pet” policies—laying groundwork for more specific legislation later on. If passed, such a law would be the first of its kind, according to housing industry groups and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA).

Arreguin’s office told TIME that while details are still in flux, the proposal could require all landlords to accept tenants’ pet dogs and cats, as well as “small house pets” ranging from rabbits to reptiles. The caveat for owners is that their animal must be able to be “reasonably accommodated” and must be well-behaved, not disturbing other renters. Owners could also become obligated to purchase pet insurance, and take care of any property damage caused by the pets, even if it exceeds their security deposit.

Arreguin’s chief of staff, Anthony Sanchez, says that the measure was partly born out of confusion over “emotional support animal” rules. In addition to state law allowing animals that help with disabilities such as blindness, renters can also currently get a note from their doctor saying they need Fluffy or Fido to help with conditions like anxiety. Sanchez says this has led to concerns from landlords about whether the renters truly have a legal basis for keeping their pet, as well as conflicts among tenants in buildings that generally do not allow pets.

“We noticed more and more tenants and landlords having disputes,” Sanchez says. “This seems like a way to address all those issues.” In other words, Arreguin believes that simply allowing all pets, but tightening regulation of how people care for their animals within a rental situation, would eliminate the confusion.

Many local landlords say this dog won’t hunt. Some have complained about potential property damage, like animals scratching up hardwood floors or leaving lingering smells. The caveat that animals be “reasonably accommodated,” Sanchez says, is meant to give landlords some leeway here—like saying that a Great Dane cannot be reasonably kept in a studio apartment, or that one renter cannot reasonably keep 12 cats nextdoor to a renter who is deathly allergic.

Arreguin’s office says such a law could help keep animals off the streets and out of shelters, given that some owners give up their pets when they move into a new apartment that won’t allow animals. Sanchez says that with the new law, it might be feasible to require pet owners to register, spay, tag and vaccinate their furry loved ones before a landlord allows them to occupy a unit.

The ASPCA tells TIME that the organization supports any efforts to get animals into homes. Legislative director Kevin O’Neill also noted that while “there are laws in place to limit landlords from banning pets mid-lease or requiring cats to be declawed as a condition of a lease, the ASPCA is not aware of any law that institutes a complete ban on pet restrictions for apartments.”

After hearing the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting, Berkeley’s city commissioners could take three or four months to return with a well-educated report on how to best propose the law. Until then, the city’s pets will be left nervously tapping their paws.

TIME Education

How the iPad Helped Bring Down the Los Angeles Schools Chief

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy speaks at a news conference in Los Angeles on April 11, 2014.
John Deasy resigned as superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District on Oct. 16, 2014. Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

John Deasy resigned after a bungled effort to give an Apple tablet to every student in the district

For all that an iPad might be able to offer a growing mind, the device is missing a component many students would consider essential for coursework: a keyboard. A failure to recognize the importance of that omission is just one of many things that went wrong when the head of the Los Angeles public schools embarked on a plan in 2013 to get iPads in the hands of all 650,000 students in the system.

Two months after abandoning the heavily-publicized effort, John Deasy, superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, stepped down Thursday. The school board reportedly sent him packing with $60,000 in severance pay and appointed an 82-year-old former superintendent to run the second largest school district in the country in his place.

Deasy’s tenure had been troubled for some time. Test scores and graduation rates went up under his leadership, but his aggressive push for more teacher accountability rankled the teacher’s union. And recent municipal elections left him with fewer allies on the school board. Beyond the political backdrop, however, Deasy’s downfall can be traced, in part, to his devotion to the cult of Cupertino.

When Deasy promised to give every public school student under his care an iPad, it earned him hopeful, glowing praise. The iPad proposal seemed like a forward-thinking, even glamorous, way to transcend the socioeconomic barriers to academic achievement.

As critics have since pointed out, however, iPads are more expensive than many tablets from other manufacturers that are used by school districts. They also lack keyboards and other components many students find useful—like drives and USB ports—that are available on laptops. When some iPads were distributed to students during an early phase of the LAUSD program, some hacked the devices — which the district had said were meant solely for academic work — to enable more general use. And when the program began, some schools did not yet have proper wifi infrastructure that would allow all their students to be online at the same.

As more school districts adopt digital technology, Apple is pushing hard to become the go-to vendor for the products they need to make it happen. Deasy lent a hand to this effort, appearing in a 2012 Apple promotional video touting the iPad’s potential as an educational tool. In July, the company announced it had sold 13 million iPads for educational use worldwide.

But to critics, Deasy’s enthusiasm for Apple crossed a line when it was revealed earlier this year that he had been in close contact with Apple and Pearson, which makes software that was to be installed on hundreds of thousands of LAUSD iPads, long before the companies secured LAUSD contracts as part of an effort that was to cost the district more than $1 billion. The relationships between Deasy, one of his a deputies and executives at the companies were revealed in e-mails released to local media outlets. In one 2012 email before Apple was awarded an initial $30 million contract to provide iPads to LAUSD students, Deasy wrote to the CEO of Pearson, “I had an excellent meeting with Tim at Apple last Friday,” referring to Apple CEO Tim Cook. “The meeting went very well and he was fully committed to being a partner.”

Deasy recused himself from the formal bidding process because he owned Apple stock and has said communication with potential vendors is common and not wrong. The L.A. district attorney’s public integrity division investigated and found no criminal charges were warranted. Still, critics said the whole episode left the impression that LAUSD was biased in favor of awarding a contract to Apple, leaving bids from competing technology companies at a disadvantage.

This summer, under intense pressure over the Apple and Pearson deals, Deasy suspended LAUSD’s contract with Apple and said the district would restart its bidding process. In a memo to the school board, Deasy said the decision to halt LAUSD’s contract with Apple would “enable us to take advantage of an ever-changing marketplace and technology advances.”

It proved to be too little, too late, for a hard-charging education reformer with a soft spot for shiny tech.

Read next: Apple Unveils Its Thinnest iPad Ever

TIME celebrities

New York Fan Wants J.Lo Street in the Bronx

Jennifer Lopez Visits Extra
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 03: Singer/actress Jennifer Lopez arrives to a taping of "Extra" at The Grove on March 3, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Extra) Alberto E. Rodriguez—2011 Getty Images

A New York fan is calling on "every J.Lover in the world" to support his effort

Just over 1,300 people agree that singer, dancer and actress Jennifer Lopez should have a street named after her–where else but the Bronx.

Bronx resident Edgardo Luis Rivera launched a Change.org petition calling for one of the blocks in Jenny-From-the-Block’s old borough to be named in her honor.

Rivera has called on “every J.Lover and fan in the world” to get the district and city councils to consider naming a street after the “Luh You Papi” singer. The New York Daily News reports that Rivera wants part of Blackrock Ave., close to J.Lo’s home growing up, to adopt Lopez’s name.

Rivera announced recently that actress Kristin Chenoweth is among the 1,300 “Jennifer Lopez Way” supporters, but no word yet from the city. According to the Daily News, the city council has been reluctant to name streets after still-living people, though exceptions have been made in the past.

TIME Food & Drink

These Are America’s Best Coffee Cities

Coffee
Getty Images

Whether you’re looking for single-origin beans, personalized pour-overs, or carbonated iced coffee

When they took a train trip along the West Coast a few years ago, Stephanie Mantello and her husband got off at Portland on a mission.

It was for coffee.

“We sprinted off the train with only a 45-minute stop to get a coffee at Stumptown,” says the Sydney-based travel blogger. “It was well worth the potential of missing the train.”

Like many travelers, Mantello loves to try local java in a new place. And no surprise, Portland, OR—home of famed roaster Stumptown—was yet again in the running this year for the top city for coffee among Travel +Leisure readers. In the America’s Favorite Places survey, readers voted on the most magnetic features of major metro areas, from the quality of local coffee to the live-music scene.

Find out where to get your fix in the best coffee cities across the country—and make your opinions heard by voting in the America’s Favorite Places survey.

No. 1 Portland, OR

The Northwest city known for its latte-friendly (read: misty) weather won the coffee contest again this year—and not just forStumptown Coffee Roasters, which continues to expand beyond Oregon. Two lesser-known local favorites are in the city’s Central Eastside. One is Coava, a single-origin roaster whose beans are regulars at the Northwest Regional Barista Competition, and whose Zen-feeling Brew Bar shares space with a sustainable bamboo company. The other, micro-roaster Water Avenue Coffee, offers such barrel-aged coffees as Oak and Pinot Noir; one of the most popular menu items is a $1 sidecar shot of espresso.

No. 2 Seattle

The city that gave the world Starbucks fell to No. 2 again—perhaps because some T+L readers think only of the coffee giant when they come here. But Seattle, which also ranked well for bookstores and boutiques, supports plenty of smaller coffee operations (some even dubbed “nana-roasters”) that roast their own beans. Consider Slate Coffee Roasters in Ballard, or Convoy Coffee, a bike-powered coffee cart that does pour-overs, AeroPress, and iced coffee. If you can’t come to Seattle without visiting the mother ship, check out the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, a 15,000-square-foot flagship that will offer small-batch roasts when it opens December 2014 in Capitol Hill.

No. 3 Providence, RI

The coffee culture in this state capital—populated by a lot of artists and geeks, according to T+L readers—runs deep. To understand one reason why sweet “coffee milk” is Rhode Island’s state drink, go toDave’s Coffee, which sells a high-quality espresso-based coffee syrup that locals often add to a glass of milk or use to lace their morning joe. Dave’s also does a cold-brew coffee on tap and boasts of having the state’s only Slayer machine—which helps baristas better control the temperature and pressure during espresso making. One of the best up-and-comer coffee places is in the Dean Hotel: Bolt Coffee Company, where the top order is a Chemex-made pot of coffee for two. And since nothing goes better with coffee than a little pastry, pick up some cookies from North Bakery, or scones and sticky buns from Seven Stars Bakery (Providence ranked at No. 1 for its baked goods).

No. 4 Albuquerque

The New Mexico city made the top five for its distinctive local flavor. Case in point: the New Mexico Piñon Coffee Company, offering blends made with local pine nuts, which fans say add a vaguely cocoa or hazelnut flavor. On Saturdays, the roaster offers a short coffee history class with a roasting demo and cupping. Ask Albuquerqueans for their other favorite local coffee drink, and they may send you to Golden Crown Panaderia, where you can indulge in the signature Coffee Milkshake with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and a generous dousing of espresso.

No. 5 Houston

This business hub is one of four cities designated as a green coffee exchange port on the New York Board of Trade. For a purist’s cup, check out Siphon Coffee, in Montrose, where your coffee is prepared using the vacuum process, which promises to extract the best flavor from the beans. While Siphon’s baristas may discourage cream or sugar, they do condone snacks (like breakfast tacos and empanadas) and trying your luck on the coffee bar’s Ms. Pac-Man and Frogger machine. To taste other local brews, go to Revival Market, which offers local cheeses, charcuterie, and coffee by Houston-based roaster Greenway. Another reason to stop in: Houston also scored near the top of the survey for its foodie-friendly specialty grocery stores.

Read the full list HERE.

More from Travel + Leisure:

TIME Culture

Here Are The Best Cities For Trick-or-Treating

Children trick-or-treating
Children trick-or-treating Comstock—Getty Images

Data for the most dedicated trick-or-treaters

Come Halloween night, all the savviest trick-or-treaters know which houses on their block give out the best candy and have the best decorations. And everyone also knows which ones give out the dreaded toothbrushes and apples.

But real estate site Zillow takes this annual battle for Halloween domination to a national level: instead of house-to-house comparisons, the site ranks which cities measure up as the best for trick-or-treaters overall.

The winner: San Francisco. Followed by Los Angeles and Chicago, with Baltimore rounding out the list at number 20.

The results are based on four variables: neighborhood home values (with the assumption that wealthier neighborhoods will give out more and better candy), population density, Walk Score and local crime data. According to Zillow, the list reflects the cities that amount to the Holy Grail of trick-or-treating: “the most candy, in the least amount of time, with the fewest safety risks.”

See if your city makes the cut here.

TIME History

New York Opens Oldest Known Time Capsule, Dating Back to 1914

The bronze time capsule was originally slated for opening back in 1974

The oldest known time capsule was opened in New York City on Wednesday; its contents date back at least 100 years.

The New York Historical Society, which possesses the bronze capsule and hosted a ceremony for its opening, says the capsule was created in celebration of the tercentennial of the New Netherland Company charter back in 1914. According to a NY Historical Society blog post on the capsule, its original to-open date was back in 1974, but past curators neglected to do so.

In celebration of the opening of the oldest-known time capsule, student-interns at the Historical Society are creating a time capsule of their own—one can only wonder what artifacts they’ll use to represent 2014. A cronut recipe, perhaps? A series of Snapchats? All of which will surely look ancient when the capsule is opened in 2114.

TIME cities

San Francisco Moves to Legalize Airbnb, But With Restrictions

Airbnb Said to Be Raising Funding At $10 Billion Valuation
The Airbnb Inc. application is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone in Washington, D.C., on March 21, 2014. Andrew Harrer—Bloomberg/Getty Images

A new law will make it legal to operate Airbnb in San Francisco

San Francisco lawmakers voted Tuesday to legalize short-term rentals in the city by passing the “Airbnb law,” which permits residents to host guests via services like Airbnb but places restrictions on the practice.

The new law, passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors, will allow Airbnb to operate in the city where it began six years ago, and where laws previously barred residential rentals of less than 30 days, SFGate reports. Thousands of residents ignored the existing laws, which have been lightly enforced.

“The status quo isn’t working; we have seen an explosion in short-term rentals,” Board President David Chiu said in introducing the law.

But the “Airbnb law” will also place restrictions on Airbnb hosts, allowing them to offer only short-term rentals, establishing a city registry for hosts, mandating the collection of hotel tax, limiting rentals to 90 days per year, and requiring liability insurance for each listing.

The law passed in a 7-4 vote, and if it passes a pro forma vote and is signed by the mayor as expected, it will take effect in February. The law was first introduced in April and was intended in part to prevent landlords from renting out extra apartments to Airbnb guests, a practice critics say exacerbates an affordable housing crisis.

[SFGate]

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