State should extend abortion access: Q&A with gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown

Saul Sugarman, SF Public Press — Apr 22 2010 - 6:17pm
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Jerry Brown came out strongly in support of women’s abortion rights last weekend, saying he planned on pushing budget reforms to aid access for low-income women if elected governor in November.


Neighbors scuttle plan for condo tower near Transamerica pyramid

Dana Sherne, Apr 21 2010 - 11:25pm

After nearly five hours of public debate, the Board of Supervisors halted plans for the development of a 38-story condominium tower Tuesday night. Many of the project’s opponents were concerned with the possibility that the building would harm surrounding parks — Maritime Plaza, Sue Bierman Park and the privately owned redwood grove at the foot of the Transamerica pyramid. Specifically, they emphasized the impacts of shadows, wind and interrupted bird migration routes.


Saving the ocean by sparing sharks’ fins — Q&A with Goldman Prize winner Randall Arauz

Erica Gies, Apr 19 2010 - 11:43pm

Costa Rican biologist Randall Arauz is working to protect sharks from the practice of shark finning, when a shark’s fin is cut off and it is tossed back into the ocean to die a slow death. Finning has reduced shark populations 90 percent worldwide and is taking its toll on the ocean ecosystem.


Coco Zhao’s Shanghai-flavored jazz

John C. Liau, SF Public Press — Apr 19 2010 - 12:05pm

The red mood lighting enhances the lounge feel of the concert hall inside the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. For one night, MATCHA, a monthly night life event in the museum, is transformed into a Shanghai jazz club, complete with Coco Zhao, a jazz vocalist who’s been called “the boy Billie Holiday.”


Parents, teachers withhold signatures on SF school budgets

Jennifer Martinez, SF Public Press — Apr 15 2010 - 3:29pm

Amid a jarring education funding shortfall, committees of parents and teachers at two San Francisco schools are refusing to endorse the budgets for next school year, saying that signing off on them would excuse unacceptable cutbacks. The shrunken budgets that the San Francisco Unified School District is requiring would make class sizes larger. School site councils, introduced in the 1970s throughout California as a way to broaden involvement in school administration, have faced disagreement about whether they have any real say in spending choices.


Rival union vows fight after SEIU wins $1.5 million verdict

Christopher D. Cook, SF Public Press — Apr 9 2010 - 7:09pm

In a mixed verdict Friday morning, a nine-member U.S. district court jury awarded $1.5 million to the Service Employees International Union in its ongoing campaign against a rival created by former SEIU staffers. The judgment is unlikely to resolve the unions’ protracted battle over members and worker voice in the labor movement.


Worldwide micro-lender looks homeward: Q&A with’s Premal Shah

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Apr 5 2010 - 4:15pm
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Despite high loan requests and lower repayment rates by borrowers in the country, San Francisco nonprofit microcredit Web site, Kiva, has managed to raise $765,900 since launching its pilot program this past June in the United States. Typically, the organization distributes loans raised on its Web site to microcredit organizations in developing countries that lend it to impoverished entrepreneurs. The impact of the economic downturn on small business owners set the stage for Kiva to establish a program in the U.S. last June.

Seeking to Help Budding Researchers With a Click of the Mouse

Victoria Schlesinger, SF Public Press / The New York Times — Apr 2 2010 - 1:38am

Eureka Fund, based in San Francisco, is one of a handful of new nonprofit organizations created to give the general public an opportunity to pay for scientific research that is not fully supported by government or private sources. They are part of a fledgling movement to take the idea of crowd-sourcing and crowd-financing, which has worked in arenas like small business and education, to scientific research.

Edible gardens grow up

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Mar 30 2010 - 12:28pm
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Sanchez Elementary School, in San Francisco's Mission District, has erected the city's first public, off-the-grid, vertical garden. Equipped with a high-tech weather station, students will study the growth patterns of the edible, organic vegetables and measure weather patterns.

Welcome to the neighborhood: Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island (photo essay)

Monica Jensen, Mar 29 2010 - 3:14pm

Treasure Island, named for the imagined gold embedded in the mud dredged from the Sacramento Delta to build the manmade island, offers an oasis for some in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Yerba Buena Island, to the east, has sweeping views of the East Bay.

Protesters urge Feinstein to take lead on immigration reform

Christopher D. Cook, SF Public Press — Mar 25 2010 - 3:18pm

Capping a wave of national immigration-rights actions across the country, local organizers turned this week to urging Sen. Dianne Feinstein to support comprehensive reform. About 2,000 Bay Area immigrants and others rallied Wednesday in front of Feinstein’s San Francisco office. The nationwide effort — including a march of 200,000 in Washington, D.C. — is aimed at pressuring Congress to support reforms Immigration reform leaders are pressing Congress for “humane comprehensive immigration reform” to protect undocumented immigrants while moving them toward legal status, prevent immigrant families from being split apart by deportations, and other goals.

Agricultural production in Central Valley leaves toxic legacy for locals

Erica Gies, KALW Public Radio — Mar 24 2010 - 12:34pm

One of the perks of living in the Bay Area is the wide variety of fresh, local produce we enjoy year-round. Much of that comes thanks to our proximity to the Central Valley, one of the most productive agricultural regions the world has ever seen. Unfortunately, this luxury comes at a price, although we aren’t the ones paying it.

Performer plays on the edge of reality

Conor Gallagher, SF Public Press — Mar 22 2010 - 2:24pm

Maria Watanabe takes the stage in Japantown’s Peace Plaza to sing and dance as the anime character Sailor Moon every Saturday — despite her fear of crowds. She believes her shows are worth the trouble because anime is such an important part of Japanese culture. Watanabe is part of a growing number of otaku (anime fanatics) in the Bay Area and the United States. Over the past few decades, attendance at anime (animated movies) and manga (comic books) conventions has skyrocketed. San Jose’s FanimeCon alone grew from 200 attendees in 1994 to about 15,000 in 2009.

No ‘rock stars’ here

Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, Mar 17 2010 - 4:56pm

In March, the color pink is all the rage in San Francisco. No, it wasn’t the latest in summer swimwear or a flash mob singing Pink’s big hit “So What” in unison. We’re talking about the type of pink that comes in the form of a letter from your employer saying, in essence, “cutbacks are forcing us to eliminate your position.” That’s right, March 5 was Pink Slip Day in the City and County of San Francisco — and although the estimated 15,000 workers who received the notices are in a furor over the layoffs, there is a silver lining to the situation.

Bipedalism rules Sunday Streets kick-off

Vivian Morales, SF Public Press — Mar 16 2010 - 2:22pm

Take a virtual tour of the city’s northeastern waterfront ... There were no slackers at the third annual Sunday Streets kick-off on Embarcadero. Whether it was biking, Rollerblading, scootering or walking, people — not vehicles — were mobile. The northbound lane of the Embarcadero, where bumper-to-bumper traffic on a Sunday is the norm, was converted to a bidpedal and pedalers’ mecca.

City workers decry layoffs, demand alternatives

Christopher D. Cook, SF Public Press — Mar 15 2010 - 3:48pm

City workers are demanding alternatives to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s hard-nosed fiscal approach as he attempts to close a $522 million projected budget gap through mass layoffs and de-facto furloughs.

As San Francisco grapples with a ballooning deficit for the coming fiscal year, Newsom laid off 17,474 workers two weeks ago, but promised to hire back “most” of them at 37½ hours per week. For the rehired, that represents a 6.25 percent pay cut — which city workers’ unions intend to challenge in court.

Toting 8½-by-11-inch “termination of employment” pink slips, angry city workers lined up at last Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee hearing to decry the layoffs and urge city leaders to explore other sources of money.

Welcome to the neighborhood: SoMa (photo essay)

Eleanor Beaton, SF Public Press — Mar 15 2010 - 9:54am

SoMa is growing up, literally.

The neighborhood, bordered by Market and South Van Ness streets, has seen the most recent growth in high-rise construction in the city. In the past three years, about eight high-rises were built in the neighborhood and blueprints for more, namely the Transbay Terminal redevelopment area, are reshaping the skyline.

Cap-and-trade ‘unpollution’ is nonsensical

Andrew Page, KQED — Mar 10 2010 - 1:53pm

When I first heard about cap-and-trade — the plan where a company can emit greenhouse gasses up to a point (the cap) then offset its emissions by investing in “unpollution” somewhere in the world (the trade) — well I thought, “This sounds like it’s worth a shot.” But after some looking into it, I have my doubts.

Supes, mayor agree on new tenant protections

Saul Sugarman, SF Public Press — Mar 10 2010 - 12:45am

Mayor Gavin Newsom plans to support a proposal passed by the Board of Supervisors that protects tenants from arbitrary eviction in non-rent controlled residences facing foreclosure.

Welcome to the neighborhood: Western Addition’s NoPa (photo essay)

Michael LaHood, SF Public Press — Mar 8 2010 - 2:45pm

The neighborhood known as “NoPa,” or North of the Panhandle, is in the process of undergoing a transformation. The neighborhood is gaining an identity of its own, separate from its historical roots as a part of the larger Western Addition.