Mayor: Social services agencies must plan for years of cuts

Kevin Stark, SF Public Press — Jun 10 2011 - 12:46pm

City Budget: Lee recommends 5-year planning for nonprofits

In a clear departure from his predecessor, Ed Lee, the city’s caretaker mayor, stumped across San Francisco’s 11 districts this spring criticizing ingrained budget balancing techniques as “an incredible act of disrespect.” His big new idea: to encourage nonprofit service agencies to plan their budgets on five-year cycles rather than groping year by year for funds to keep their doors open. That would go hand in hand with the city’s first ever five-year plan, released May 3, which projected a whopping $828 million shortfall five years from now.

City steps in where state fails to regulate toxic manis and pedis

Kyung Jin Lee, SF Public Press — May 23 2011 - 2:56pm

WORKING CONDITIONS: San Francisco program pushes nail salons to use safer chemicals

Heidi Hoang was pregnant when she first started working at Nails by Linda in San Francisco’s Sunset District. “There’s a lot of people who say, ‘You have to be careful with this kind of job. Maybe, no more baby,’” Hoang, now the salon manager, said. “I was so nervous.” Nail salon workers, many of whom are Vietnamese immigrants and refugees with limited English skills, have long endured toxic chemicals that emanate from products they use to beautify their clientele. The chemicals not only produce noxious fumes, but workers often complain of itchy skin, rashes and headaches after prolonged exposure to the substances. In an effort to combat the problem, San Francisco is developing guidelines to encourage nail salons to go green. In the absence of federal or state regulations protecting salon workers from toxic exposure at work, the city is working to educate salon owners about healthier alternatives.

Bay Area directors explore post-9/11 FBI entrapment in ‘Better This World’

Michael Levitin, SF Public Press — May 16 2011 - 2:56pm

Winner of the best documentary feature award at the San Francisco International Film Festival earlier this month, “Better This World,” a film by Kelly Duane de la Vega and Katie Galloway, looks at what happened to two young Texas activists imprisoned for allegedly plotting terrorist acts at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, and the dubious role that one charismatic activist played in their downfall. The co-directors spoke with the Public Press about domestic security problems, what drove them to make the film, and why the rest of us should care.

2010 ‘sit-lie’ law could cost city thousands to jail repeat offenders

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Apr 26 2011 - 3:42pm

It took two cops to nab Charles Donovan outside Coffee to the People on the corner of Haight and Masonic streets. Dressed in camouflage and carrying a sign that read, “Need food,” Donovan was whisked away, ordered to remove his sunglasses and duly patted down. The officers told him he was being detained. A barista saw the scene and ran outside to intervene.  Donovan, eventually, was let go with a warning as the cops wrote down his name in their notebooks. His offense? Reclining on a large backpack against a tree outside the coffee house, an activity that stands in violation of San Francisco’s newly enacted “sit-lie” ordinance. Dozens of others haven’t gotten off as easily as Donovan since the city started enforcing the law in February. None, yet, have gone to jail for a repeat offense; but that could soon change in the coming months, eventually costing the city nearly $4,000 per arrest after the third offense.

Supervisors choose City Administrator Edwin Lee for interim mayor

T.J. Johnston and Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jan 7 2011 - 8:10pm

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 on Friday for City Administrator Edwin Lee to fulfill the remaining term for outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom. Lee will become the first Asian American mayor of San Francisco when the vote is ratified at next week’s board meeting on Tuesday. Sheriff Michael Hennesey, who was also considered for the position, was rejected by the board 9-2.

Board struggles to choose an interim mayor

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jan 5 2011 - 4:10pm
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors spent eight hours debating who to select as interim mayor to finish Gavin Newsom's term and ended up delaying any decision until Friday. Angry lame-duck Supervisor Chris Daly blamed Board President David Chiu for a potential deal to install City Administrator Ed Lee in the post, vowing to "politically haunt you for the biggest fumble in the history of San Francisco politics." He then added: "It's on, like Donkey Kong."

Board delays picking new mayor until January

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Dec 15 2010 - 11:31am
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors decided to put off nominating and picking an interim mayor until early January. On a 8-3 vote on Tuesday, the board delayed any decision to nominate Mayor Gavin Newsom's successor until at least Jan. 4, 2011, the day after Newsom is scheduled to be sworn in as the state's lieutenant governor. The Jan. 4 meeting would be the last meeting of the current board before four new members take office.

Gulf residents doubt government committed to working with communities to fix spill damage

Kevin Stark, SF Public Press — Dec 9 2010 - 11:01am

Some fear money won't go to restoring ravaged coastline

As the federal government promotes initiatives to ensure long-term recovery for the oil-spill-beleaguered Gulf Coast region, officials are attempting to court marginalized community groups whose members say their suggestions have been disregarded or they have been left out of discussions entirely. But the reaction has been skeptical, with residents saying they have been deceived by low-ball official assessments of environmental and health threats. Residents say they are increasingly anxious about the economic and environmental viability of life along the shoreline. As many as one-quarter of the region’s residents say they are thinking of moving away.

Effort to choose new mayor includes social network

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Dec 6 2010 - 4:20pm
UPDATE: Assemblyman Tom Ammiano issued a statement saying he will not accept any nomination to be interim San Francisco mayor, according to SF Weekly. As the San Francisco Board of Supervisors prepares to hear nominations to pick a new mayor, one member of the board is turning to the Web to push his candidate. Chris Daly posted a petition on the Change.org social network site to draft Assemblyman Tom Ammiano into seeking the mayor’s office that Gavin Newsom’s election to lieutenant governor will leave vacant.

City assessor running for mayor next year

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Dec 1 2010 - 3:58pm

San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting filed for papers Wednesday morning to start organizing his campaign to become the city's next elected mayor. He will join other candidates state Sen. Leland Yee, City Attorney Herrera and Supervisor Bevan Dufty.

“Politics is too important to leave to politicians alone. We need to engage the whole population to identify problems, to help fix them and most of all to hold government officials accountable for results,” said Ting in a statement.

He also said the city needs a mayor who can solve the ongoing budget problems, which he believes has the credentials to do so. He said his office has generated $245 million in new revenue without raising taxes.

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