Bruce Blog

Impertinent question: Will Mayor Lee take on the Bank of America for unethical behavior?


Mayor Ed Lee moved with lightning speed to suspend Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi without pay on misconduct charges and unethical behavior  in a spousal abuse case and continue the costly, distracting, divisive  media and City Hall circus.Read more »

Editorial: Mayor Lee: Ease off Mirkarimi and help stop the foreclosure crisis


And so the downtown gang (Willie Brown/Rose Pak, PG&E, the Chamber, the big developers et al) used Ed Lee to outmaneuver the progressives and roll Lee into the job of "interim mayor" on condition Lee not run for mayor.  Then Lee kept lying for months about his intentions and saying over and over that he would not run for mayor--until the downtown gang convinced him to run as a way to further damage the progressives. And now, according to news reports, Mayor Lee is poised to file misconduct charges against Mirkarimi for his gulty plea of false imprisonment in the Mirkarimi domestic violence case.

This could lead to an explosive and polarizing scenario where the Board of Supervvisors, in an election year, would be asked to remove Mirkarimi, a former fellow supervisor and political ally, as sheriff or side with him on what has turned out to become a toxic political issue. This would affect at minimum Mar, Avalos, Campos, and Olague in the supervisors' races and Mar, Avalos, and Campos in the upcoming Democratic County Central Committee race. It would also affect any candidate in any race that said a nice word about Mirkarimi.  If anybody thinks the mayor and the downtown gang would be unhappy with this prospect, think again. I recommend that Lee hold off on Mirkarimi, and work to uphold his position as a "unifier," and not become a polarizer and promoter of media and City Hall circuses. Instead of taking on Mirkarimi and the progressives, he should concentrate on such important and timely issues as helping stop the foreclosure process on the thousands of homes facing foreclosure in San Francisco. More: he should go after the big foreclosure banks, starting with the Bank of America and its multi-million dollar short term cash account with the city, and  Wells Fargo, with its national headquarters here in town.b3

More than 1,000 homes in San Francisco are either in foreclosure or at the start of the process. Some 16,000 homeowners are underwater, and as many as 12,000 may face foreclosure in the next 12 months. A report by the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment shows that the city could lose $115 million from the reduced property taxes and the costs of carrying out evictions.

That's a crisis — and while the mayor has no direct control over home foreclosures, he ought to be speaking out and joining the protesters who are fighting this cascade of often-fraudulent bank actions. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: Contraception is the big issue


Contraception (of all things)

Republicans are bashing birth control,

As candidates far-rightward scurry.

The voters haven't heard such talk in years.

We're going backward in a hurry.

Calvin Trillin: Deadline Poet (The Nation 3/26/2012)


Dick Meister: Labor's David vs. GOP's Goliath


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.

Organized labor is doing exactly what it must do to combat the onslaught against unions being waged by Republican politicians nationwide, throwing lots of money and lots of ground troops into the election campaigns of Democrats – most especially President Obama's campaign for re-election.

The AFL-CIO made it official with a ringing endorsement of Obama. Federation President Rich Trumka declared that "as president, Barack Obama has placed his faith in America's working men and women to lead our country to economic recovery and our full potential. So we're putting our faith in him." Read more »

The case for a study of the economic impact of market rate housing


"SF's rush toward the ultimate highrise" read the headline on the Guardian front page of Sept. 27, 1971. The headline and the graphics by Art Director Louis Dunn illustrated the central point of our bombshell study: that despite the rhapsodies of  the Chamber of Commerce and the big developers, highrise commercial buildings don't produce gushing revenues and they don't pay for themselves.In fact, our exclusive study of the downtown highrise district  found that "for every $10 the district yields to the city treasury, the city has to provide $11 in services.

"Put another way: the highrise district contributes $62.9 million, or 25.2% of all locally generated municipal revenue.  But it costs $67.7 million, or 25.2% of all locally financed expenditures (figures from fiscal 1970. Read more »

SOS: Vote to save the Small Business Administration!


Scott Hauge, the indefatigable founder and president of Small Business California, put out an email SOS today asking people to vote in a Wall Street Journal poll asking if the Small Business Administration should be eliminated.

"While the SBA is not perfect, it is all businesses around the country have," Hauge noted. The Guardian heartily concurs.   I asked Hauge  where this was coming from.  He replied that the WSJ had an article a couple of weeks ago saying small business did not create jobs and were not meaningful jobs.  They were applauding big business."Read more »

Stop the presses: Lefty O'Douls Irish Newsboys jump start St. Patrick's day at 6:30 p.m. Friday


The Irish Newsboys get a jump on St. Patrick's Day with a lively evening of Irish ballads featuring top right to left (Mike Sugarman of the KPIX's Eyewitness Blues band, the Chronicle's Jay Johnson and the Oakland Tribune's Bob Loomis and bottom right to left Barry "The Fish" Melton and the Chronicle's Kevin Fagan.) The Newsboys  will start playing at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Lefty O'Douls, 333 Geary St. Sugarman, I'm told by a reliable source, is the only non-Irishman in this subversive group.


Editorial: The case against the 8 Washington tower


Editorial note: In 1971, at the height of the Alvin Duskin anti-highrise battle, the Guardian did a special first ever cost benefit study for high rise office development.

We found that highrises cost the city  more in services than they produce in revenue.  This meant that the commercial high rise boom could be fought on economic grounds, not just aesthietic and environmental grrounds, and the Chamber of Commerce/Big development gang could never adequately refute our findings.  In fact, they are now taken for  granted. So, as the 8 Washington battle is poised to open the floodgates even further for a forest of market rate residential  buildings, it's time for the city to do its own study to determine the economics of high end  residential buildings.  Does the cost of servicing luxury residential buildings exceed the taxes they pay? We and many others in the neighborhoods are certain that market rate housing doesn't pay for itself. But the facts are needed and so we urge the supervisors to direct the budget analyst or the city economist to do a similar analysis  for luxury condos.  Below is Executive Editor Tim Redmond's powerful argument against 8 Washington.

By Tim Redmond

In city planning terms, it's a fairly modest project: 134 condos, no buildings more than 12 stories tall, on a 27,000-square-foot site. It's projected to meet the highest environmental building standards and offers new open space and pedestrian walkways. It's near Muni, BART, and ferry lines. And the city will collect millions of dollars in new taxes from it.

But the 8 Washington project, which will come before the Planning Commission March 8, has become a flashpoint in city politics, one of the defining battles of Mayor Ed Lee's administration — and a symbol of how the city's housing policy has failed to keep pace with the needs of the local workforce. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: We pick Rick



(A Santoram campaign song, sung to the tune of "I like Ike," by Irving Berlin)

'We pick Rick.

Yes, Rick's with whom we'll stick.

He's the guy

All over whom we're swarming. Read more »