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, dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.
Guaranteeing America's working people a decent retirement has become increasingly difficult with the decline of traditional pension plans and the glaring inadequacy of the 401 (k) savings accounts that have replaced them.
So what to do? The answer is obvious to the AFL-CIO, and should be to everyone else: Increase Social Security benefits. Read more »
Madeline Perez, our ace correspondent who reported the UC-Davis pepper spraying story from her tent on campus, flashed the word that the long awaited and much delayed investigation report would be released Wednesday (4/11/2012).
The Louis Dunn cartoon, featured on this blog, summed up eloquently the pepper spraying incident then and the report now. The cop, in full riot gear, holding the spray can at the ready, with the caption: "UC-Davis, Where real education begins." Some educational points:
The Chronicle front page head: "Pepper spraying is called improper."
Subhead: "UC-Davis police conduct faulted in panel's report." Read more »
EDITORIAL There is no simple free-market solution to gentrification and displacement. There's no way a crowded city like San Francisco can simply rely on the forces of supply and demand to protect vulnerable populations. And there's no way the city's flawed housing policy can prevent the loss of thousands of San Franciscans — particularly young, creative people who help keep a city lively — from fleeing to a town where they can actually afford the rent.
Richard Florida, the famous social and economic theorist who coined the term "creative class" argues that artists and writers and geeks and musicians are the forces that drive modern economies. His pioneering 2002 essay in the Washington Monthly was titled "Why cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race."
Dick Meister is a San Francisco-based columnist and former semi-professional baseball player. You can contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.
Baseball season again. Time to re-enter the temples of baseball. Temples? Yes, temples.
To most people, baseball is merely a game. But to some others, it's virtually a religion, a game played in temples – the temples of baseball, be they Major League stadiums or any other baseball park at any level from the Major Leagues to the little parks at much lower levels where I played in hopes of making it big as a professional. But that's another story.
Of course baseball is a game. But it is indeed a game that is played in temples. Baseball parks are places of myth, superstition and legend, no less than the temples where the great myths, superstitions and legends of religion hold sway. Even the most casual fan is likely to know the myths and legends that make up baseball's storied history - Babe Ruth's called-shot home run in the 1932 World Series, for example. His whole career, in fact. Read more »
EDITORIAL For most of the past year, Mayor Ed Lee had been taking a tough line with California Pacific Medical Center, the health-care giant that wants to build a state-of-the-art 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill. The mayor had been telling a stunningly recalcitrant CMPC management that the outfit would have to put upwards of $70 million into affordable housing and spent millions more on transit, neighborhood and charity-care programs to mitigate the impacts of the massive project.
But late in March, something happened. Under immense pressure from the Chamber of Commerce and other big business groups, the mayor buckled and agreed to a deal with woefully inadequate mitigation measures. The supervisors should reject the plan and force CPMC to do better. Read more »
Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. He's the co-author of "A Long Time Coming: The Struggle To Unionize American's Farm Workers" (Macmillan). Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com
I hope we can all pause and reflect on the extraordinary life of a true American hero on Saturday (March 31). It's Cesar Chavez Day, proclaimed by President Obama and observed throughout the country on the 85th birth date of the late founder of the United Farm Workers union. In California, it's an official state holiday.
As President Obama noted, Chavez was a leader in launching "one of our nation's most inspiring movements." He taught us, Obama added, "that social justice takes action, selflessness and commitment. As we face the challenges of the day, let us do so with the hope and determination of Cesar Chavez."
Like another American hero, Martin Luther King Jr., Chavez inspired and energized millions of people worldwide to seek and win basic human rights that had long been denied them, and inspired millions of others to join the struggle. Read more »
Myrna Melgar is a Latina survivor of childhood domestic violence, a feminist, and the mother of three girls. She is a former legislative aide to Sup. Eric Mar.
Eliana Lopez is my friend. I have asked for her permission to put into words, in English, some observations, thoughts and insights reached during our many conversations these past few weeks about her experience with San Francisco's response to the allegation of domestic violence by her husband, Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi. We hope this will lead to a teachable moment for law enforcement and anti-domestic-violence advocates about cultural sensitivity — and will lead to honest discussions about the meaning of empowerment of women.
We hope that Eliana's experience, and our shared perspective, will prompt some analysis among feminists, advocates, and the progressive community in general about the impact of the criminalization of low-level, first offenses of domestic violence on this one immigrant woman — and the implications for all immigrant women and other women of color.
Eliana Lopez came to San Francisco from Venezuela with hope in her head and love in her heart. She decided to leave behind her beautiful city of Caracas, a successful career as an actress, and her family and friends, following the dream of creating a family and a life with a man she had fallen in love with but barely knew, Ross Mirkarimi. Read more »