Cuts to state HIV and AIDS programs will put thousands at risk

Lizzy Tomei, The Public Press — Jun 10 2009 - 6:27pm

Proposed cuts in funding to HIV and AIDS programs around the state could put thousands of lives at risk and set back years of progress fighting the disease, activists and service providers say.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s latest budget proposal would cut $80 million from the state Office of AIDS budget, reducing funding to prevention and testing programs and disease trend tracking by 80 percent. The cuts would also reduce funding for home care, cut the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) budget by $12.3 million, and eliminate the Therapeutic Monitoring Program, which pays for blood tests for people with HIV infection.

Board of education votes to continue ROTC

Jun 10 2009 - 12:48pm

San Francisco high school students will receive physical education credits if they participate in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

The San Francisco Board of Education voted 4-3 to allow students to join ROTC. The Board of Education voted to end the program in 2006 and it was scheduled to end at the end of this school year.

Valley water supplies not in danger

Jun 10 2009 - 12:22pm

News reports of gloom and doom would lead one to believe the current drought will threaten argiculture in the San Joaquin Valley.

According to data compiled by the California Department of Water Resources, the valley will still receive more than 80 percent of its average water supply.

Supervisors save public access TV channels for one more year

Anna Walters, The Public Press — Jun 10 2009 - 11:29am

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors temporarily rescued public access television from the brink of extinction Tuesday, passing an ordinance that reimposes a city franchise fee on Comcast and other cable operators.

San Francisco moves toward mandatory recycling, composting

Jun 9 2009 - 5:33pm

By Michael Pistorio and Hank Drew
The Public Press

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 9-2 to pass the mandatory recycling and composting ordinance.

The ordinance requires all San Francisco residential and commercial building owners to sign up for composting and recycling services. Violators will be charged a $500 fine.

June 12 digital switch threatens TV 'lifeline' for thousands

Bethany Fleishman, The Public Press — Jun 9 2009 - 4:36pm

Tens of thousands of Bay Area residents could wake up to a blank television screen on June 12, when all broadcast television programs officially go digital and abandon their analog signals. Those most at risk of losing their TV signal are seniors, residential hotel tenants and non-English speakers.

Tracy Rosenberg, executive director of the Oakland-based Media Alliance, estimated that roughly one million people nationwide will lose their signals. In the Bay Area, that number could top 65,000, and many people are calling Media Alliance for help.

“Here it is three days before the changeover and we are inundated with phone calls,” Rosenberg said.

Large turnout expected for budget cut protest Wednesday

Jun 9 2009 - 2:43pm

By Kevin Stark
The Public Press

Hundreds are expected Wednesday for protest of the proposed cuts in Mayor Gavin Newsom's $6.6 billion budget.

The action will begin at 3 p.m. at Hallidie Plaza (on Market between Fourth St. and Fifth St.), and activists, many representing community groups affected by budget cuts, will march to City Hall.

The cuts include $169 million from the Department of Public Health, $22.8 million of which are from community organizations that provide service to the mentally ill and people with drug addiction. Newsom's cuts to social services have been met with criticism from service providers.

Audit reveals Department of Aging and Adult Services accounting irregularities

Jun 9 2009 - 12:12pm

A recent report by the city Controller's Office revealed that one of three programs run by the Department of Aging and Adult Services was out of balance by more than $10,000. It said that there were no bank reconciliations for the agency's operating or investment accounts for six months in 2007.

Noe Valley tops in SF home sales

Jun 9 2009 - 11:21am

Noe Valley continues to be the most popular neighborhood in the city for home sales, according to data compiled by Inside SF Real Estate.

Bernal leaped into the No. 2 spot, with Potrero Hill, Pacific Heights and SOMA completing the top five.

The top 10 numbers compiled from MLS Listings data follow:


Perfect storm of bad economic news led to San Francisco's budget scramble

kristina shevory, The Public Press — Jun 8 2009 - 7:16pm

Until last summer, the recession was something that happened somewhere else. The credit crunch was slow in reaching San Francisco because it was insulated from the subprime crisis unfolding across the country.

But now the recession has hammered the city’s budget and led to the largest shortfall in more than two decades. With a $438 million deficit, the city is scrambling to make up the difference -- slashing 1,600 jobs, auctioning taxi medallions, slapping smokers with taxes to clean up cigarette butts.

The San Francisco budget: a user's guide

Christopher D. Cook, The Public Press — Jun 8 2009 - 4:35pm

Welcome to San Francisco’s lean and mean 2009 budget season. It’s going to be a brawl.

As Mayor Gavin Newsom seeks to eliminate a $438 million deficit, mainly through cuts to city staff and services, the board of supervisors and numerous opposition groups will be haggling over the brutal details through July 1.

While much of the current debate centers on how to spread the pain, some groups and supervisors are calling for new revenue measures to avoid decimating city services.

News Notes: San Francisco set to go more green

Hank Drew, The Public Press — Jun 8 2009 - 11:17am

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors could require residential and commercial building owners to sign up for composting and recycling services.

If the new mandatory recycling and composting law is approved by the supervisors tomorrow, violators would be charged a $500 fine. The proposal is up for its first reading at the June 9 Board of Supervisors meeting.

San Francisco already recycles 72 percent of its garbage, which is one of the highests recycling rates in the nation. City officials are aiming to recycle 100 percent by 2020.

News Notes: Mission park service hours cut

Jun 8 2009 - 9:29am

The $7.5 million restoration of the Mission Playground at 19th and Linda streets comes just as city budget cuts limit the park's operating hours.

News Notes: Tenderloin residents urged to stay inside as explosion snarls 2-block zone

Jun 5 2009 - 2:42pm

By Tim Kingston
The Public Press

An underground fire in the Tenderloin is sending black smoke spewing out of a manhole cover, with one witness saying, "It looks as if the Wicked Witch of the West might shoot out at any second."

Helicopters were hovering as the fire department poured fire retardant into the manhole cover. Police cordoned off a two-block radius, bounded by Geary Street, Van Ness Avenue, Ellis Street and Larkin Street.

Carpenters Union and Chase/WAMU gnaw on each other's nerves

Tim Kingston, The Public Press — Jun 4 2009 - 5:33pm

In anticipation of Wednesday’s Earth Day celebration, Berkeley Farmers’ Market has stepped up to the “green” plate – by becoming the first market in the nation to eliminate all plastic bags and packaging.

“We’ve been anti-plastic for a long time, but we’re also committed to our farmers and didn’t want to negatively impact them through diminished sales or costs,” said Ben Feldman, program manager of The Ecology Center – an environmental non-profit that has run the markets since 1987.

The market launched its “Zero Waste” campaign March 7, demanding all farmers’ market refuse be recyclable or compostable. The new rule includes materials for bagging produce as well as containers and utensils for prepared foods.

News Notes: Navy stalling on Hunters Point cleanup

Hank Drew, The Public Press — Jun 3 2009 - 12:27pm

In 2000, 86 percent of San Francisco voters agreed that cleaning up the toxic Hunters Point Shipyard was vital for the area's well-being.

The Navy is considering sealing and capping Parcel E2 and handing over the area to the city. This could lead to a potentially hazardous situation in the new Bayview-Hunters Point development area.

The Navy has spent millions of dollars cleaning up the Shipyard only to leave Parcel E2, the site of the Navy's industrial dump, untouched. Parcel E2 contains the massive glob of contaminates that caught fire in 2000 and continued burning for six months.

A tour of toxic hot spots in the Bay Area — Jun 2 2009 - 5:38pm

The reputation of the Bay Area as a haven for sustainable lifestyle practices, the cradle for the slow food movement and solar energy development reaches far and wide, but it is also the home to pockets of persistent toxic trouble spots, partly as a legacy of past manufacturing activity and partly a result of ongoing business practices. This legacy has real and detrimental effects on the lives of those who live and raise families there.

Two experienced journalists, Kwan Booth and Kim Komenich, are working for in partnership with the journalism micro-funding site, to identify and tell the narrative of a neglected community in the Bay Area that suffers from this type of pollution and ecological degradation.

The stories come in a multimedia package of photography, audio commentary and text reporting, with the goal of creating a rich audio-visual narrative to give a voice and reveal the lives and challenges of real people who are often reduced to statistics in policy papers.

Homeless counseling group first on Health Dept. chopping block

Kevin Stark, The Public Press — Jun 2 2009 - 1:09pm

Caduceus Outreach Services could close its doors as early as July 1 due to the crippling budget deficit facing the San Francisco of Department of Public Health.

Caduceus, a 13-year-old SOMA-based nonprofit organization, could lose two-thirds of its budget as a result of the Health Department’s efforts to cope with an unprecedented $163 million deficit. Caduceus, which provides psychiatric counseling to about 100 homeless people, is just one of 104 city-based community program agencies facing the budget ax this summer, as the city tries to deal with a total deficit of $438.1 million.

News Notes: Drain on unemployment benefits could lead to 2011 crisis

Hank Drew, The Public Press — Jun 2 2009 - 12:11pm

More than 1 million Californians are now collecting unemployment benefits that are being covered by a interest-free federal loan to be repaid by 2011.

News Notes: July 1 budget cuts to trim homeless and AIDS support

Hank Drew, The Public Press — Jun 1 2009 - 1:55pm

Mayor Gavin Newsom's July 1 budget cuts would raise Muni fares and elminate, through layoffs and attrition, about 1,600 city jobs.

One homeless drop-in center will be closed as part of the new budget proposal and services for HIV and AIDS patients, drug addicts and the mentally ill will be reduced.