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The Power Issue 2016

The movers, shakers, and rule beakers shaping the city by the bay right this second.


These are dark days in which to consider who among us really wields power. We—as in “We the People”—have been profoundly reckless with our democratic birthright. So publishing our fifth annual Power Issue—a deep dive into the people, companies, ideas, and institutions that most affect our lives—right now, as in, mere days after the Trumpocalypse, isn’t ideal. It’s too soon to know the full consequences of this strangest of all elections, and too painful still to weigh them dispassionately. But even while most San Franciscans (90.4 percent of us didn’t vote for Trump) reel from what many consider an unequivocal national disaster, not all is doom and gloom in our little bubble by the bay. Life (and work and art and invention) goes on. So consider this Power Issue an ode to resilience and a call to arms. Here you’ll find stories about a new cadre of power players: They are the black pro athletes crashing the mostly white VC boys’ club; the programmers inducing the whole world to go outside and play; the scrappy heiress remaking the arts scene; the female entrepreneurs rewriting the rules of investment; the activists building the next progressive movement; and—because not all power stories are about forward progress—the recalcitrant cops fighting back against change. Dark times require clear-eyed journalism: We hope we’ve delivered that here.

The Swing Man
Golden State Warrior Andre Iguodala on taking what the NBA has given him and betting the rest on Silicon Valley. As told to Ian A. Stewart

Drama Queen 
Her father’s money opened countless doors for Carole Shorenstein Hays. Now she’s bestowing the same favor—plus interest—on the city’s theater scene. By Lauren Smiley

The Force Inside the Force
San Francisco’s loud, angry police union is out of step with the city’s progressive politics. How is it still wielding power? 
By Joe Eskenazi 

No Sexism in the Champagne Room 
At the Riddler, the future (and funding) is female.
 By Rebecca Flint Marx

Pokémon Pandemonium
The inside story of the biggest out-of-nowhere smash hit of 2016—and what life’s like riding aboard a runaway train. By Jeremy Lybarger

The Great Tech Swap
White House vets are parachuting into the Valley en masse.
 By Lamar Anderson

The Agony and Ecstasy of a Mayo Messiah
Hampton Creek CEO Josh Tetrick doesn't want to dwell on bad press. Instead, he'd prefer to dream of a better tomorrow. By Rebecca Flint Marx 

A Girl, a Radio Flyer, Some Aerospace Engineering, and a Dream

The out-of-nowhere success story of Smitten Ice Cream. By Caitlin Harrington

The YIMBYs Next Door
Fed up with insane housing costs and the progressives who have stalled development for decades, a small group of activists are marching under a simple slogan: Build, baby, build!
 By Scott Lucas  

Your Chariot Awaits
On the road with San Francisco's latest—and maybe greatest—muni disrupter. By Andrea Powell 

Inside Men
For powerful entities with big stories to sell (or big scandals to squash), Nathan Ballard and P.J. Johnston are ready to go to war. 
By Joe Eskenazi

Originally published in the December issue of
San Francisco

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