Fact check: ‘Yes on Prop 16’ ads don’t convey PG&E’s huge fingerprints

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — Jun 6 2010 - 5:23pm

Tuesday’s statewide election features a controversial industry-backed proposition that would amend the California Constitution to require a two-thirds vote before a community could change its energy provider. The largest tonnage of paper political ads flooding mailboxes in San Francisco sport a variety of images — some ominous, some silly and sarcastic — but the same message: Proposition 16, the “Taxpayers Right to Vote Act,” protects voters from spendthrift politicians. But the ads, paid for mostly by incumbent power provider Pacific Gas & Electric Co., are misleading in a few important ways.

Black and white graphic novel gets colorful in gallery exhibit

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Jun 4 2010 - 3:38pm
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How to illustrate idiosyncratic personalities coping with the monotony of day-to-day life? For San Francisco artist Jamaica Dyer, it’s no longer just black and white. The characters from her black-and-white graphic novel “Weird Fishes” take on a new life with her use of a soft color palette and gentle brush strokes. It is the story about two teenagers named Dee and Bunny Boy who grapple with issues of identity and question reality. An exhibition of her work is on display through June 13 at the Cartoon Art Museum’s Small Press Spotlight.


SF budget plan cuts 993 jobs, finds hidden funds

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — Jun 2 2010 - 1:11pm

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his proposed annual budget Tuesday, with some new money and lots of cuts. By cutting 993 jobs and reducing some salaries, the city will save $64.2 million, he said. Full-time employment will be the lowest it has been in more than 10 years, he said, adding, “In the last decade, whatever we’ve done, we’re back to where we were in 1998.”

As gay marriage heads back to court, political proponents are split

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Jun 1 2010 - 2:40pm

Since the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008, there has been a substantial divide among gay-rights groups over how soon they should go to voters to try and reverse the ban against same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, a legal effort to reverse the law will return to the courtroom on June 16 for closing arguments.

Harvey Milk remembered on Castro Street on day in his honor

Lila LaHood, SF Public Press — May 24 2010 - 1:19pm

At one of several local celebrations for California’s inaugural Harvey Milk Day, San Francisco officials dedicated a plaque to the slain supervisor and gay rights activist in front of his former camera shop and campaign headquarters on Castro Street. Read more...

Domestic workers’ call for reform aired in City Hall

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — May 21 2010 - 9:21am
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Fair treatment of domestic workers rose to the top of the agenda of San Francisco leaders this week, unleashing an emotional response from workers who said their contributions to society were under-valued. “Domestic workers are the backbone of the economy, working to ensure the health of others and freeing others to work in the workforce,” said Supervisor Eric Mar. Read more...

Gay divorce bill removes extra hurdle for domestic couples

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — May 17 2010 - 12:26pm

Legislation that would make it easier — and less expensive — for same-sex domestic partners and married couples to split up has cleared the state Assembly and is now heading to the Senate. Currently, couples who had registered as domestic partners and later married have to go through separate processes to dissolve each agreement. The new law would allow for one process to handle both matters.


Supervisors support fee deferment to encourage building in the city

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — May 12 2010 - 3:57pm

Although one supervisor questioned whether allowing developers to delay paying some fees would spur building in the city, officials say the accommodation will create more jobs and spur the economy.

Supervisors consider sidewalk policing as public debate heats up

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — May 11 2010 - 5:34pm

The simmering debate on Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed restrictions on sitting and lying on the streets, the so-called “sit-lie” legislation, lined up advocates on both sides in what one city supervisor termed a culture war on San Francisco’s streets. Regardless of what the Board of Supervisors does with the plan — and they are likely to pan it — it could find new life on the ballot if the mayor presses forward.


‘Sanctuary city’ policy threatened by federal database

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — May 10 2010 - 5:13pm

A new federal program that will take information about people arrested in San Francisco and feed it into an immigration database has some worried about the future of the sanctuary city policy. Previously only information on people involved in felony cases was shared with the federal government.


Muni cuts begin Saturday; drivers fear backlash

Anna Rendall, SF Public Press — May 7 2010 - 7:12pm

A reduced Muni schedule begins on Saturday, with longer wait times between buses and service that starts later in the day and ends earlier at night. The cuts are part of an effort to close a $12 million budget gap in the current fiscal year’s budget. Drivers are worried that frustrated passengers will vent their anger at them.


Dying Northern India art form revived in Bay Area

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — May 6 2010 - 8:15pm

For the past two years, Devendra Sharma, an assistant professor of communication at California State University, Fresno, has been resuscitating and reinventing a dying Indian folk operatic performance art — Nautanki — in the Bay Area. The opera, characterized by exuberant singing in Hindi about religious, mythological or sociopolitical-themed stories, is a nightlong communal event performed in outdoor venues in northern Indian villages.


Two business tax plans aim to encourage new jobs in SF

Dana Sherne, May 5 2010 - 5:33pm

In an effort to increase revenue and spur the local economy, San Francisco’s Office of the Controller is proposing two revised business tax plans that may end up on the November ballot.


SF schools negotiations go to mediator; shorter school year likely

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — May 4 2010 - 4:41pm

The San Francisco Unified School District and its teachers union have turned to a mediator for help in resolving a $113 million budget shortfall. Both sides are calling for a shorter school year, but disagree on many of the financial points in the new budget.


Protests set stage for Arizona boycott, immigration reform

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — May 3 2010 - 5:04pm

The large march and rally in San Francisco this weekend has set the stage for Tuesday’s vote by the Board of Supervisors on a resolution calling for a boycott of the state of Arizona and Arizona-based companies over its new immigration law. The rally and resolution are in response to a new law that makes it a state crime to be in America illegally and gives police the power to question people about their citizenship status.

Oakland teachers and families’ one-day strike (photo gallery)

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Apr 29 2010 - 10:06pm

Oakland teachers and families picketed outside schools Thursday. According to various reports, few students attended school.

Asians denounce suspected hate crimes

Dana Sherne, SF Public Press — Apr 28 2010 - 4:55pm

Hundreds of Asian Americans joined city supervisors and Mayor Gavin Newsom at a rally Tuesday to call for safer neighborhoods after a rash of attacks against Asians, with much of the blame being focused on African Americans. Newsom promised a $100,000 reward for finding the youths who assaulted and fatally injured Huan Chen on Jan. 24.


Banksy street art pops up around town

Shawn Gaynor, SF Public Press — Apr 26 2010 - 3:31pm

International graffiti artist Banksy has been leaving his mark around San Francisco on several buildings. The mysterious street artist is now also a filmmaker and his new film, "Exit Through the Gift Shop'' is playing in several Bay Area cinemas. Although he does not personally sell his artwork, collectors have been paying big bucks for his work at auction.


San Francisco gives Web users a peek at lobbyists’ work

Anna Rendall, SF Public Press — Apr 26 2010 - 12:16pm

San Francisco has put lobbyist information on the Ethics Commission website, giving greater access to information about special interests pushing their viewpoints in City Hall. But the site has received some criticism from those who say the site should be easier to use. The new site allows anyone to get answers to questions that had required a trip to the commission’s office.


Some Lawyers Want to Keep Debt Collection Out of the Courts

Bernice Yeung, SF Public Press / The New York Times — Apr 23 2010 - 7:29am

Debt collectors are increasingly using litigation as a tool to collect on aging debts. Critics say the practice clogs the courts and turns the credit card companies’ debtor lists into free-fire zones that sometimes target the innocent. In the Bay Area, a coordinated response to these practices is being developed, as a loose-knit group of public-interest lawyers pools resources to fight what they see as a misuse of the court system.