Bruce Blog

Julian Davis announces for supervisor in the key battleground district for progressives (5)

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Julian Davis, a widely known progressive activist and organizer in San Francisco since 2002, declared Tuesday  his intention to run for supervisor in District 5, the city's most liberal district and a battleground district for progressives seeking to regain control of the Board of Supervisors.Read more »

Editorial: The war on sunshine

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EDITORIAL The Rules Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors joined the war on sunshine May 17 when it rejected four qualified candidates from three organizations who are mandated by the ordinance to choose representatives for the task force because of the organizations' special open government credentials.

The representatives served as experienced, knowledgeable members who were independent counters to the nominees of supervisors who were often promoting an anti-sunshine agenda. The committee asked the organizations to come up with more names.

That was a nasty slap at members and organizations that have served the task force well for years. And this arbitrary demand will make it virtually impossible for these organizations to come up with a "list of candidates" to run the supervisorial gauntlet. Who wants to go before the supervisors on a list for a bout of public character assassination? Read more »

The return of Willie Brownism to the sunshine task force

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As an advocate for the passage of the  San Francisco sunshine ordinance and task force in the early 1990s, I felt obligated to take my first and only City Hall position and serve as a founding member of the task force. I served for l0 years and helped with many other good members to build the task force into a strong and respected agency  for helping citizens get access to records and meetings and hold city officials accountable for suppressing access.

The task force is the only place where citizens can file an access complaint without an attorney or a fee and force a city official, including the mayor, to come before the task force for questioning and a ruling on whether they had violated  sunshine laws, The task force lacked enforcement power, but it still annoyed of city officials, including Mayor Willie Brown.

In fact, Willie spent a good deal of time trying to kick me off the task force. He used one jolly  maneuver after another, even getting an agent to make a phony complaint against me for violating the ordinance with an email. (The complaint went nowhere.) I refused to budge and decided to stay on the task force until Willie left office—on the principle that that neither the mayor nor anybody else from City Hall could arbitrarily kick members off the task force. When Willie left office after two terms, I resigned with the hope that the Willie principle had been established. Read more »

Meister: Another presidential step against anti-gay bias

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

President Obama's bold endorsement of same-sex marriage should be only the first of his key acts in behalf of gay Americans. It's now past time for him to redeem a 2008 campaign promise to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against gay workers.

Such discrimination is already banned in Washington, D.C., and 21 states, including California. A presidential order would cover the millions of federal contractor employees in the other states. Building roads, bridges and dams are among the many essential tasks they perform throughout the country. Read more »

Editorial: The business tax debacle

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Labor and much of the progressive community worked with downtown and the Mayor's Office last year to craft a pension-reform bill that took away benefits from city employees. The unions came to the table, recognized the city's financial problems and bought into a compromise, even though it took money out of their pockets.

And now big business, with the support of Mayor Ed Lee, wants to reform the local business tax in a way that doesn't bring the city a dime of new revenue (and hurts small business in the process).

In other words, it's fine to seek compromise when it's about cutting workers pay and city costs. When it's about asking big business (and a lot of big businesses, particularly tech businesses, in this town are doing exceptionally well right now) to chip in just a little more, to do the right thing, address the revenue side of the ledger and pay a fair share, the answer is No. Read more »

Dick Meister: Union rights are civil rights

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The right of U.S. workers to organize and bargain collectively with their employers unhindered by employer or government interference has been a legal right since the 1930s. Yet there are workers who are unaware of that, and employers who aim to keep them unaware, meanwhile doing their utmost to keep them from exercising what is a basic civil right.

Many employers often claim working people are in any case not much interested in unionization, noting that less than 15 percent of workers currently belong to unions.

But as anyone who has looked beneath the employer claims has discovered, it's the illegal opposition of employers and the failure of government regulatory agencies to curtail the opposition that's the basic cause of the low rate of unionization. Read more »

Nicholas Perez drives Robotics Team 1717 to the No. 1 position in the world

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Well, my addiction to robotics continues as the fabled Dos Pueblos Robotics Team 1717, led by my grandson Nicholas Perez as the ace driver,  has been ranked number one in the world out of 2,332 robots. The team is from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, California.Read more »

Toward the fun: The return of Wavy Gravy

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And so Wavy Gravy, a cultural icon of the 1960s and ever after, returns to the Bay Area and the Freight & Salvage Coffee House in Berkeley on May 22 for a benefit concert to fund his Camp Winnarainbow in Mendocino County.Read more »

Editorial: The Mirkarimi case is an abomination

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Editor's note: And so the man who became interim  mayor on a false pretext and then lied his way through an election for a full term amid a sleazy mass of campaign irregularities and violations, has suspended Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay and is now using the full power of the city attorney's office to continue the Mirkarimi crucifixion. Without pay? The usual City Hall/cop practice is to suspend or put a city official on administrative leave with pay. Even Willie Brown, former mayor, Chronicle columnist and PG@ES lobbyist, says Mirkarimi should not have been suspended without pay. B3

EDITORIAL There's only one way to say this: The official misconduct case against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi has become a one-sided star-chamber proceeding that violates all the basic rules of fairness, decency, and due process.

Over the past few weeks, Mayor Ed Lee, acting through the City Attorney's Office, has been collecting evidence and issuing subpoenas to force witnesses (including some who have only a peripheral involvement in the matter) to give testimony. The mayor is acting as if he's prosecuting a murder case instead of conducting a hearing on whether an elected official should be thrown out of office for a misdemeanor.

And Mirkarimi and his lawyers have absolutely no ability to respond. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Ron Paul, still standing

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Ron Paul, Stll Standing

 Mitt's opposite number is still in the race.

Paul has his supporters; he has his own base.

He has his own style, which is folksy, not canned.

Religion? He's got one. His prophet's Ayn Rand.

By Rand's wacko theories he's fervently gripped,

So he  won't do the flip-flops. He long ago flipped.

Calvin Trillin, The Naton (5/14/2012