Copenhagen climate talks teleported to San Francisco

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press — Dec 10 2009 - 6:56pm

Any question you have about the environment — the best eco-clothing line or whether climate change is a hoax — David Pascal and company will try to answer it, as part of their Copenhagen Café, a two-week-long environmental salon in downtown San Francisco that will parallel the U.N. climate talks underway in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Unparalleled bridge, unprecedented cost

Patricia Decker and Robert Porterfield, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:50pm

When completed, the new east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge will be not only the most complex engineering feat in California history, but also the most expensive, with a cost never subjected to public scrutiny. Although today’s price tag stands at $6.3 billion, the figure accounts for only salaries and hard materials—things like concrete and steel and cranes. When all is said and done, the new Bay Bridge will wind up costing tax- and toll-payers more than $12 billion—a figure that leaves even the officials in charge “staggered.”

How Wall Street profits from bridge building

Robert Porterfield, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:49pm

The Bay Area Toll Authority has the unique power to raise bridge tolls without the Legislature's approval, which it has done repeatedly to pay off the $6.9 billion bond debt amassed so far to build the new Bay Bridge and upgrade six other spans. That makes BATA particularly attractive to Wall Street, which has pocketed more than $122 million in fees to arrange the borrowing.

Building the bay’s signature span

Patricia Decker, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:48pm

When all the pieces are finally welded together and tethered by the main suspension cable, the Bay Bridge east span will be not just a new American icon, but also a truly global monument. From the enormous solid steel castings of cable saddles, brackets and bands being forged in Japan and England to the gigantic bearings and hinges being manufactured in South Korea and Pennsylvania, fabrication of the bridge is under way in seven foreign countries and in more than two dozen American cities, including 12 in California.

The fine print: Interest doubles total price tag

Robert Porterfield, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:47pm

Overall cost estimates have been presented to the public in annual reports and press briefings, but the cost of interest on money borrowed to pay for construction has not been included.

A timeline of the old and new Bay Bridge east span

Mike Adamick, McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:46pm

Graphic illustration: the Bay Bridge

McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama/SF Public Press — Dec 8 2009 - 1:45pm

The east span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in graphic illustration. Design by Eleven: Greg Hathaway, Darlene Gibson, Stella Trenggono & Liz Gershman.

San Francisco less progressive than it thinks, says outgoing green chief

Victoria Schlesinger, The Public Press — Dec 2 2009 - 4:46pm

After eight years as the director of the city’s Department of the Environment, Jared Blumenfeld is leaving the position in January for a bigger job.

VA launches initiative to assist homeless vets

T.J. Johnston, The Public Press — Nov 26 2009 - 4:15pm

A collaboration between the Veterans Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development seeks to end — and prevent — homelessness among veterans.

Supervisors: holidays a bad time to lay off city workers

Monica Jensen, The Public Press — Nov 25 2009 - 6:59pm

More than 500 low-wage city workers threatened with job and pay cuts this fall received a holiday-themed reprieve Tuesday, as the Board of Supervisors delayed layoffs in the hopes of finding federal and state funds to prevent cutbacks.

Prop. D proponents blame video for creating fear of billboard plan

Jaime Nabrynski, The Public Press — Nov 24 2009 - 3:43pm

The proponents of Proposition D, the billboard plan in the Mid-Market Street area, blame a last-minute video by the “No” on Proposition D campaign for creating fears among voters that San Francisco would turn into the next Las Vegas with its neon lights and billboards.

How Prop. D billboard plan was defeated

Jaime Nabrynski, The Public Press — Nov 13 2009 - 3:07pm
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The defeat of the Mid-Market Street billboard plan last week was close because proponents hid the details over who would handle the funds coming from large ads, says the opposition's key organizer.

Billy Bragg saved my life

Tim Kingston, The Public Press — Nov 10 2009 - 10:55am

There is something about being unemployed — or underemployed, as it is cutely referred to these days — that puts a crimp in one’s life. What is harsh is the loss of hope that comes with long-term unemployment. It is the constant effort to keep optimistic and on top of things while isolation grinds one down. Unemployment focuses the mind on individual survival, instead of collective solutions. Watching Billy Bragg perform recently at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco was, for me, a desperately needed injection of hope and a reminder that there is a lot more to life than getting by.

City finds millions to rehire laid-off nurses, clerical workers

Kevin Stark, The Public Press — Nov 4 2009 - 10:14pm

San Francisco city leaders have found an extra pot of $8 million they hope to use as a patch on the summer’s tattered budget, potentially rescuing more than 500 frontline workers already given pink slips or downgraded to lower-paying jobs.

Oakland’s community policing program continues to face challenges

Sandhya Dirks, Crosscurrents on KALW Public Radio — Oct 28 2009 - 4:49pm

Officer Clay Burch is one part of the three-pronged approach that makes up Measure Y, in which community police are complemented by street outreach teams. PSOs and outreach teams link young people to the actual programs that help create foundations for a better life. And for Burch, improving Oakland’s toughest neighborhoods happens one building, and one person, at a time.

Pricey recreation center plan splits San Francisco State students

Justin Allen, The Public Press — Oct 23 2009 - 10:45pm

The student paper headline read, "Debate Already Closed." But elsewhere on the San Francisco State University campus, the debate was just beginning, about a proposed $93 million recreation center whose bottom line seems to loom over the conversation about deep curriculum cutbacks this fall.

Students gathered Thursday in the Cesar Chavez student center for a teach-in organized by the Coalition Against the Rec Center, a group of students opposing the construction of a Recreation and Wellness Center. But the proposal has divided opinion on campus, with the president of the largest student group, which strongly backs the plan, declaring, "The project will never die."

Craigslist founder rejects link between site, crimes

Stephen Robert Morse, The Public Press — Oct 21 2009 - 10:03pm

Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist, said he does not believe his Web site is to blame for crimes committed by those who use the Internet to lure their victims.

“People might use our site, much like they might use the phone, or a car, or the roads, and I can’t find a reason for any of us to feel guilty about it,” Newmark said during a wide-ranging interview with the Public Press’ Stephen Robert Morse.

Special sign district on SF’s Mid-Market faces ‘uphill battle’

Marjorie Beggs, Central City Extra — Oct 16 2009 - 3:39pm

Warfield Building owner David Addington said he spent several years, working to bring general advertising back on Market Street from Fifth to Seventh streets, in hopes of returning the central city stretch to its former glory days as a theater district.

Although his enthusiasm for the special district hasn’t dimmed, a sense of reality has crept in as opposition to the initiative, Proposition D, mounts.

Half reviewed signs are ‘illegal’

Central City Extra — Oct 16 2009 - 2:04pm

Planning Department Ombudsman Dan Sider probably knows more about billboards than anyone in the city.

In ‘Deep East’ Oakland, youths pegged as criminals say police harassment spurs more violence

Crosscurrents on KALW Public Radio — Oct 7 2009 - 4:39pm

For many, the police are here to serve and protect. The men and women in blue are those we call when we’re in trouble. And no part of Oakland is more in need of policing than the streets between the East 70s avenues and the East 100s avenues — stretching from the base of the hills to the bottom of the flatlands — or what residents call the “Deep East.” It is where over one-third of the city’s 124 homicides occurred last year. But many of the youths living on these dangerous streets don’t welcome the police as protectors — they consider them the enemy.