At Amybelle’s wash & dry, clean your clothes and work history

Saul Sugarman, SF Public Press — Aug 2 2010 - 10:32am
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Historically, many laundromats have provided cover for seedier operations such as money laundering, gang violence, or more recently in Oakland, marijuana peddling. But a family-run shop in the Richmond District is trying a far different experiment: free Wi-Fi and career counseling.

Chiu and Newsom settle on Muni reforms

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 30 2010 - 5:08pm

The mayor and the president of the board of supervisors this week agreed on several Muni reforms to help the transit agency restore services cut in May and to improve oversight of the agency. The proposed reforms include a plan to fully restore May’s Muni service cuts by December.

Women working within Islamic society for change in Middle East

Maryann Hrichak, SF Public Press — Jul 29 2010 - 7:37pm

An Islamic feminist movement is gaining ground in the Middle East and offers hope for the future of women’s rights there. Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, has written a new book, “Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East,” and was in San Francisco recently to discuss her findings.

San Francisco’s clean-power program meets economic reality

Conor Gallagher, SF Public Press — Jul 26 2010 - 11:34am

CleanPowerSF, which aims to provide a cleaner energy alternative to PG&E, is struggling to find a way to keep rates low and supply San Francisco residents with green power. Contract negotiations with the company chosen to implement the city’s clean-energy system have collapsed, and the city is changing the requirements for any new bidders. The goal of 51 percent renewable energy by 2017 seems unlikely, unless the city buys some form of energy credits.

Second earthquake in 4 weeks strikes SF

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 23 2010 - 2:56pm

At 2:29 p.m., a magnitude-3.5 earthquake struck San Francisco, according to reports by the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was nine miles from San Francisco City Hall and three miles from Daly City.

Lawsuit seeks details on failed $100 million CalPERS investment

Maureen Nandini Mitra, SF Public Press — Jul 23 2010 - 2:53pm

The public has been slow to learn about details surrounding controversial investments made by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Now a public-interest legal group is suing CalPERS to ensure key documents related to a failed $100 million investment come to light.

City sets regulations for cannabis-laced goodies

Hank Drew and Katy Gathright, SF Public Press — Jul 23 2010 - 10:59am

Chasing your morning latte with a pot brownie might be getting a bit safer. The San Francisco Department of Public Health this month placed new restrictions on the production and sale of edible goods containing marijuana.

Temporary Transbay Terminal opens Aug. 7

Kevin Hume, SF Public Press — Jul 22 2010 - 4:57pm

Demolition of the existing Transbay Terminal will begin next month with the opening of a temporary facility, shifting the daily commute of thousands of Bay Area residents a block to the southeast. A new $1.2 billion terminal is slated to open in 2017 at the current location at First and Mission streets.

SF may soon get 2 Target stores

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 22 2010 - 4:10pm

Officials from the chain retailer Target met with residents Wednesday to discuss plans for one of two proposed stores in San Francisco. The proposed sites include the former Mervyns storefront at Geary Boulevard and Masonic Avenue and inside the Metreon at Mission and Fourth streets.

Of course banks resist reform, MIT professor says

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — Jul 20 2010 - 6:31pm

As the financial crisis drags on, Congress and the Obama administration are taking up regulatory reform of the banks at the center of the crisis. The San Francisco Public Press spoke with Simon Johnson, MIT professor of economics and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund. Johnson, author of "13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown," shared his views May 13 before the World Affairs Council.

Restored Depression-era maritime murals recall heyday of public art

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Jul 19 2010 - 3:44pm

The Aquatic Park Bathhouse Building at the San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park at Beach and Polk streets is emerging from a rehabilitation project with a noticeable facelift. The Bathhouse was built in 1939 by the Works Project Administration and became the park’s Maritime Museum in 1951. The building, which was designed to resemble the bridge of an ocean liner, is teeming with sea-themed art, none more striking that Hilaire Hiler’s “Undersea Life” mural, which has also been restored.

Muni drivers try to shift the bulls-eye

Anna Rendall, SF Public Press — Jul 19 2010 - 3:20pm

Hands clasped and brows furrowed, Gabriel Desalla sat quietly for the first half of the Bay Area Transportation Advisory Committee meeting. He is one of 2,172 union workers in the transit agency who are under increasing pressure to make concessions that would restore recently cut Muni services. In a small conference room in Bayview-Hunters Point San Francisco, Desalla waits for committee president, Emanuel Andreas, to open the floor for discussion. The topic, as usual, is the ongoing battle over salaries, health benefits and work rules. The SFMTA says that reforms are needed to improve financial efficiency but many Muni drivers are resistant to the changes proposed. The concessions the city has sought include changes to healthcare benefits for dependents and allowing part-time drivers.

Is Bayview the new Gulf of Mexico? Activists see parallels

Katy Gathright, SF Public Press — Jul 15 2010 - 4:20pm

This week’s debates over environmental approval for the $8 billion redevelopment planned for Bayview brought to the forefront comparisons with neighborhoods in the Gulf of Mexico — both in terms of environmental and racial justice concerns. The neighborhood redevelopment plan passed its latest milestone — the contentious environmental impact report — when the Board of Supervisors gave it a thumbs-up after more than nine hours of debate Wednesday morning, by an 8-3 vote.

Stranded: One man’s fight to re-establish safe haven for Haitian street kids

J. Malcolm Garcia, SF Public Press — Jul 15 2010 - 3:01pm

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — I first met Michael Brewer in 2005 when I was in Port au Prince reporting on Citie Soleil, a notoriously violent ghetto at the time. Michael, a Texas native and a registered nurse turned child advocate, ran a nonprofit organization called Haitian Street Kids Inc. and spent a lot of time in Citie Soleil helping homeless children.

Silver lining amid cutbacks: Muni’s on-time performance at all-time high

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Jul 14 2010 - 7:36pm

A report released Tuesday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said Muni’s on-time service performance increased to a new high of 75 percent. Although this is a record, the agency is still short of a voter-approved proposition requiring it to meet an 85 percent on-time performance goal.

University of California invests $53 million in two diploma mills owned by a regent

Peter Byrne, Jul 14 2010 - 6:48pm

A year ago, Richard C. Blum, then the chairman of the Regents of the University of California, spoke at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference 2009, held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The corporate confab was hosted by Michael Milken, the “junk bond king” who went to prison in the aftermath of the savings and loan fiasco in the 1980s. Milken, who is barred from securities trading for life by federal regulators, has since recreated himself as a proponent of investing in for-profit educational corporations, an industry which regularly comes under government and media scrutiny in response to allegations of fraud made by dissatisfied students.

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Macy’s sells rubies ‘filled’ with glass

David V. Johnson, SF Public Press — Jul 13 2010 - 10:39am

Despite two lawsuits and some media attention, Macy’s continues to sell gemstones that are composites of natural stones and leaded glass. The San Francisco Public Press conducted an independent investigation of Macy’s gems, and found that salespeople at all three San Francisco-area locations did not accurately describe its products and sold lead-ruby composites as bona fide rubies, without disclosing their true nature.

Reforms aim at saving shelter beds

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Jul 12 2010 - 4:47pm

San Francisco’s adult homeless shelter system is seeing fresh attempts at reform on two fronts: one through the settlement of a lawsuit, the other through new legislation. Since July 2004, more than 400 shelter beds have been eliminated, and the lawsuit settlement between the city of San Francisco and the Western Regional Advocacy Project will spare further reduction from budget cuts for this fiscal year.

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HIV, AIDS gap widens between blacks and other ethnic groups in East Bay

Danielle J. Brown, SF Public Press — Jul 9 2010 - 11:33am

As overall AIDS rates fall in Alameda County, the rate in the black community has hardly budged in the past 10 years, making African Americans in this part of the East Bay increasingly overrepresented among sufferers of the disease.

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Response in Oakland to jury verdict in BART shooting death

Jul 8 2010 - 6:01pm

Oakland spent the afternoon bracing for news of and reaction to the impending verdict in the trial of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle for the fatal shooting of Oscar Grant III on Jan. 1, 2009. The jury announced its verdict of involuntary manslaughter today shortly after 4 p.m. in Los Angeles. Reporters from Oakland Local and The Bay Citizen are in downtown Oakland and around the city documenting public response. Visit the their websites sites for breaking news coverage. (Click headline for links.)