Alex Montero

Still secret

SFPD won't allow public oversight of its surveillance work with the FBI, despite high-profile legislation requiring it

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news@sfbg.com
A high-profile local civil rights ordinance passed last year to shine light on the San Francisco Police Department's joint activities with the FBI has been undermined by the SFPD's refusal to disclose its surveillance activities. This comes at a time when the public is learning more than ever about the federal government's intrusion into the privacy of law-abiding US citizens.Read more »

Privatizing the Botanical Gardens

Non-resident fees, exclusive events, and the transfer to a private group compromise what was a natural gathering spot

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news@sfbg.com

The Board of Supervisors last week voted to continue the collection of "non-resident fees" at the Botanical Gardens in Golden Gate Park for a minimum 10-year period. Then it approved a companion measure to allow construction of a new, privately run nursery that will be the home of corporate parties and members-only activities, giving a private group unusual control over a public space.Read more »

Beginning on broke

Mayor Lee falling short on youth employment pledge as millennials face tough job market

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news@sfbg.com

Despite signs of economic recovery, many young people still face hard times due to high unemployment, low wages, and a lack of job opportunities. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee recently sought to tackle this issue locally with the rollout of Summer Jobs + 2013, a public-private partnership with an ambitious goal of providing 6,000 jobs and paid internships for San Francisco's young adults. It was the most ambitious goal ever pursued in a city jobs initiative, with particular emphasis on low-income youth.Read more »

Small Business Commissioners support Pet Food Express over local stores

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San Francisco’s Small Business Commission has recently come under fire for its promotion of corporate interests and, most recently, advocating for an allegedly predatory pet store chain known as Pet Food Express.Read more »

Panel sees Orwellian overtones in NSA spying scandal

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It is now public knowledge that the NSA has been spying on us (unless you’ve been living under a rock and, lucky for you, exempt from digital surveillance) thanks to the information leaked by Edward Snowden last week.

In the wake of this scandal, people crowded into St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley on Tuesday, June 11, to participate in a panel discussion titled “Our Vanishing Civil Liberties,” centered around the intricacies of government intrusion and spying in the age of the War on Terror.Read more »

Scorning smokers

Tobacco crackdowns target e-cigarettes, despite their lack of secondhand dangers, raising questions about the basis of current bans

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news@sfbg.com

San Francisco officials are attempting to ban the public use of e-cigarettes under the same laws that restrict smoking cigarettes, which are banned in most public places purportedly because secondhand smoke endangers others. However, the alleged lack of toxic emissions from e-cigarette vapor raises questions about the basis for the crackdown.Read more »