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Besides taxes, few solutions at town hall on education

Tabitha Harmon and Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Feb 26 2010 - 5:55pm

The organizers of what was billed as a town hall-style meeting on education funding in the Marina Thursday said their intention was to have a conversation with the community about solutions to money woes for the coming school year. But the evening’s talk, moderated by Michael Krasny, host of KQED-FM’s “Forum,” fell short of those expectations for some parents, educators and others in attendance — as evidenced by booing and hissing that punctuated the meeting.

Embattled union seeks to blunt second year of city cuts

Kevin Stark, SF Public Press — Feb 26 2010 - 10:54am

(UPDATE: A reform slate of candidates won victory in the election. For details, see Kevin Stark's blog). wins the election this weekend at Northern California’s largest public-sector union will inherit a troubled labor local beset by internal conflict and controversial negotiations in San Francisco that cost the union hundreds of jobs this past year.

Bay Area News Project editor promises media renaissance

Delaney Kennedy, SF Public Press — Feb 26 2010 - 9:18am

Jonathan Weber, the new editor for the Bay Area News Project, reveals project details to an audience of more than 100 journalists at the World Affairs
Council in San Francisco. Weber said -- unlike most media outlets -- that he's hiring. He presented a contrarian point of view on modern media, saying that technology heralds the rebirth, of journalism, not its death.

Intercept truants in early grades — Q&A with Abraham Simmons

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Feb 24 2010 - 5:49pm

Abraham Simmons, the volunteer chairman on the San Francisco civil grand jury report on truancy, says the situation in San Francisco hasn't changed much in the past seven years: around 5,000 students are habitually truant each year.

Welcome to the neighborhood: Nob Hill (photo essay)

Ron Font, SF Public Press — Feb 22 2010 - 3:46pm

Photographer Ron Font takes a look at the empty storefronts that have sprouted up all along Nob Hill, one of San Francisco's finest addresses. Font, a resident of Nob Hill, said he has seen a marked increase in vacant spaces in his neighborhood.

How BART lost $70 million in federal grants

Nathanael Johnson, KALW Public Radio — Feb 22 2010 - 2:40pm

When the federal government announced that BART would not be getting $70 million for extending its rail service to Oakland International Airport, it seemed puzzling. Wasn't this just the kind of project that the stimulus funds were meant to help? It turns out that the project was derailed by not following the Civil Rights Act. Project boosters and foes tell what happened in this report from KALW-FM.

Newspapers are art

John C. Liau, SF Public Press — Feb 22 2010 - 12:25pm

For Artopia competitor Phillip Hua, a digital media instructor at the Academy of Art, his piece, “Re: action,” is a mixed-media work using everyday objects such as newspapers (The Wall Street Journal), plastic and aluminum. His creation tells the story of the environment and its relationship to the economy, and how everything is related and degrades over time. The quality of the other finalists’ art “is great here, I do feel a little intimidated but it’s been fun.”

Environmentalists, preservationists face off in Parkmerced

Alison Hawkes, KALW Public Radio — Feb 18 2010 - 5:08pm

KALW Public Radio reporter Alison Hawkes took a closer look at Parkmerced, where owners are pitching a 30-year plan to transform the site into a low-carbon community. For developers, it’s a test to see if “green” can stand for both environmental sustainability and the color of money. Hawkes found the drive for a clean new future is clashing with the past.

East Bay children’s theater company makes debut in San Francisco

Ambika Kandasamy, SF Public Press — Feb 17 2010 - 4:59pm

In its second, and final weekend, the Active Arts children’s theater company is staging its first San Francisco production with “Ramona Quimby” at the Zeum Theater.

Welcome to the neighborhood: North Beach (photo essay)

John C. Liau, SF Public Press — Feb 15 2010 - 11:33am

North Beach was once an actual beach before landfill covered the northeastern side of San Francisco. Today, this “little Italy” sits adjacent to Fisherman’s Wharf and at times seems about to be swallowed up by Chinatown. Open spaces are at a premium in North Beach, as apartments, cafes and restaurants are stacked on top and around each other. But, if you look closely enough, you’ll see how people find creative ways to relax and use this confined space

In crackdown, SF abandoned building fee hiked ninefold

Angela Hart, SF Public Press — Feb 12 2010 - 4:38pm

In a shift that suggests a new zero-tolerance stance on blight, San Francisco officials said Friday they would raise the annual fee to “register” more than 200 abandoned buildings to $6,885 each, the maximum allowable under a recent city ordinance. “We’re going for the full amount,” said William Strawn, a spokesman for the Department of Building Inspection. “We have to make people aware that this is a new law and we’re going to enforce it.”

Welcome to the neighborhood: Sunset and Richmond districts (photo essay)

Vivian Morales, Feb 8 2010 - 11:34pm

The Richmond and Sunset districts are the largest neighborhoods in San Francisco. They sit side by side and mirror each other through Golden Gate Park, butting up against the city’s beachfront. Hidden within a vast grid of residential space are areas where one can only trek to or be aware of if driven to. Or if a Muni line transects it.

Mid-Market: The shape it’s in. Who owns it. What’s next.

Marjorie Beggs, Jonathan Newman and Geoff Link, Central City Extra — Feb 8 2010 - 2:17pm

We call it the plywood parade — the relentless march up Market Street from Fifth to Eighth of boarded-up or erratically open storefronts, emptying offices in the upper stories and crumbling facades. Some 31 percent of the storefronts on this stretch of Market Street are vacant. Both local government and businesses are trying to restore this faded area of Market Street into a vibrant commercial center. The three mid-Market blocks mostly look like hell.

City to carve out more contracts for ‘micro’ businesses

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Feb 3 2010 - 5:13pm

In a bid to make it easier for local businesses to grow in a down economy, San Francisco supervisors want to give more small, city-based firms a competitive edge in city contracts.

Census methods could provide lift to hidden homeless

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Feb 1 2010 - 3:43pm

The 2010 Census may address an old problem in dealing with San Francisco’s homeless population by getting an accurate head count. The city’s homeless figures have ranged between about 6,500 and 8,600 people in the last decade, but the real number is anybody’s guess. The sketchy knowledge of who is living on the street has been a big impediment to perennial attempts to solve the crisis.

A possible path to bikes on the Bay Bridge

Gianmaria Franchini, SF Public Press — Jan 28 2010 - 12:03pm

While the Bay Area Toll Authority met on Wednesday morning to vote on Bay Area bridge toll increases, dozens of bicycle activists demonstrated support for the building of a bicycle and pedestrian pathway addition to the Bay Bridge’s western span. They are pressing bridge officials to pave the way for a cross-bay bike lane. But construction of the pathway, which could double as a maintenance and safety shoulder, remains hung up in a bureaucratic no-man’s land: it has garnered some public support, but it is not clear who has legislative power to funnel toll revenue to new projects.

Gay teen shelter closure helps span city budget gap

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 27 2010 - 1:47pm

The Ark House, a faith-based shelter for black gay, lesbian and bisexual teens, may shut its doors March 1 if the Department of Health’s proposed cuts are approved. The program’s closure, which is expected to save the city more than $400,000 a year, is one of a handful the city hopes to enact in the middle of its fiscal year to balance the budget. The projected deficit for the year starting in July is $522.2 million.

In Prop 8 marriage trial, who exactly is an expert?

Kristine Magnuson, SF Public Press — Jan 26 2010 - 4:08pm

A Southern California political scientist had a rocky time during cross-examination Monday and Tuesday at federal court in the trial to overturn Proposition 8, the measure passed by voters in 2008 that limits marriage to a man and woman. Defenders of the ban on gay marriage opened their segment of the trial Monday with testimony by Kenneth Miller, a professor at Claremont McKenna College. He had testified early Monday that the gay and lesbian community has numerous allies and a great deal of power and influence. The pro-Proposition 8 legal team is taking issue with the challengers’ view that gays and lesbians are a persecuted and powerless group. At issue is whether the ban on marriage is unconstitutional discrimination.

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Bayview-Hunters Point India Basin and Mission Bay

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 25 2010 - 10:06am

In 2008, an art collaboration between professional artists and youth from Literacy for Environmental Justice, headed by Wendy Testu, began in Bayview-Hunters Point. Using scavenged material, the group transformed refuse into art pieces — a mixed media collage, a visual listening pod, an “insert here” project, screenprint design and photomontage.

‘Big Year’ promotes saving local endangered species (Photo Gallery)

Monica Jensen, SF Public Press — Jan 20 2010 - 5:00pm

In an effort to educate visitors to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area about the 33 endangered species that inhabit it, Bay Area conservationists and local residents gathered Jan. 9 for the 2010 Endangered Species Big Year.