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Despite political nature, Mirkarimi case in San Francisco brings spotlight to domestic violence

Christopher Peak, SF Public Press — Jul 3 2012 - 3:16pm

In a hearing room in City Hall last week, reporters scrambled to get play-by-play reaction from followers of suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, sporting blue-and-white “Stand With Ross” stickers, and organized opponents, with purple signs saying, “There’s no excuse for domestic violence.” The complex game of personality, politics and procedure has for the most part eclipsed larger policy questions about the city’s approach to handling thousands of cases of domestic violence each year. But as the city’s Ethics Commission continues to debate whether Mirkarimi is fit to hold his elected position, advocates for victims say the hearings are helping generate awareness about the wider problem of domestic violence, and the needed response from social service agencies and law enforcement.

Express bus eyed for Caltrain to mid-Market run

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — May 14 2012 - 2:23pm

Muni officials want to start an express bus route to speed workers from the downtown San Francisco Caltrain to a revitalized mid-Market jobs hub. The rush-hour service would cater to what the city anticipates will be a growing technology business cluster near the new headquarters of social media giant Twitter.

Muni brings back first streetcar from 1912

Hyemi Choi and Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Apr 5 2012 - 5:23pm

Mayor Ed Lee, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and city officials joined to celebrate Muni’s centennial year by re-introducing the transit system’s first streetcar from 1912. Muni turns 100 on Dec. 28.

San Francisco pitched as beacon of ‘collaborative consumption’

Michael Stoll, SF Public Press — Apr 4 2012 - 5:22pm

San Francisco’s current crop of leaders ran for office on a platform of deploying city resources to encourage private-sector job growth — which in this famously liberal city is seen as about as conservative as an elected official can get. But last week a task force convened by Mayor Ed Lee and four members of the Board of Supervisors opened an opportunity to expand the meaning of the pro-business moniker to a new crop of startup, do-gooder social enterprises that enable small-scale, peer-to-peer economic activity and resource sharing.

Some San Francisco firms using legal loophole to skimp on health care cost

Barbara Grady, SF Public Press — Mar 12 2012 - 3:11pm

A version of this story appeared in the Spring 2012 print edition of the San Francisco Public Press.

It’s no wonder there is a hue and cry about an uneven playing field among businesses as they comply with San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance. The law requires most employers to provide health care benefits to workers who put in at least eight hours a week. But an analysis of compliance reports submitted by 15 randomly selected employers to the city’s Labor Standards Enforcement Office finds that they spent wildly different amounts on health benefits per employee in 2010, the most recent year reported.

Muni operators deserve payout from settlement, says Mayor Lee

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Dec 14 2011 - 6:04pm

San Francisco transit workers got an unexpected holiday bonus, of sorts, after winning back a contested $8 million in health care payouts that the city initially refused to give because it was trying to cut its 2011 budget. Mayor Ed Lee said Tuesday that he agreed with the decision by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to relinquish the funds to the Transport Workers Union 250-A.

Lee and Gascón continue as mayor and D.A.; Mirkarimi new sheriff in town

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Nov 9 2011 - 7:24pm

Incumbent Ed Lee was elected as San Francisco’s mayor following Tuesday’s ballot, in the first truly competitive race for the office using ranked-choice voting, according to unofficial results announced late Wednesday. George Gascón, who like Lee was appointed to his position during the previous administration, was sent back to the office for a full term, while Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi became the first sheriff elected in 31 years, preliminary results show.

Muni’s on-time performance still not meeting city goal

Jerold Chinn, SF Public Press — Sep 2 2011 - 2:14pm

It’s that time of month again — when the city’s transit agency releases its quarterly performance report card. And it looks like not much has changed from previous reports, which is not good news for Muni officials. For the last three months of the 2010-2011 fiscal year (April through June 2011), on-time performance measured at 72.9 percent, far below the 1999 voter-mandated goal of 85 percent. During the previous quarter for the first three months of 2011, on-time performance was at 74.7 percent.

Pensions, infrastructure and public health trimmed in 3rd year of San Francisco deficits

Matthew Santolla, SF Public Press — Aug 31 2011 - 11:58am

City estimates that costs are rising three times faster than tax revenues

Police and firefighter unions will pay more out of pocket toward their pensions. Disease prevention programs and street beautification will be scaled back. At least $37 million in capital projects will be added to a growing deferred maintenance backlog. Hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts approved in July forestalled a fiscal day of reckoning for San Francisco, a city that for three years has, like hundreds of local governments across the country, struggled to stay solvent in response to a fluctuating tax base and rising labor costs. City staff estimate that costs are rising three times faster than tax revenues.

Facing cuts, nonprofits forced to lobby City Hall to save immigration program

T.J. Johnston, SF Public Press — Aug 17 2011 - 4:33pm

Year after year, private organizations strategize and line up clients to push for last-minute ‘add-backs’

For clients at Self-Help for the Elderly, the citizenship classes taught by volunteer instructor Joanne Lee are a perfect fit: Classes are held at a convenient Chinatown location, senior clientele are easily accommodated and the material is taught in both English and Chinese. It has worked out well for students Sammie Xu, 69, and Nancy Zhang, 64, Chinese immigrants who are studying for their naturalization exam. Before enrolling in classes at the social services agency, the married couple tried others in which teachers only provided instruction books without guidance or taught classes only in English.

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