Amanda Witherell

What booze ban?

After an alcohol crackdown in North Beach, the city commission is back to facilitating the fun
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amanda@sfbg.com
Outside of North Beach, the party is still on. That's good news for San Francisco festivalgoers, but it leaves one outstanding question: What exactly is current city policy on promoting partying in public spaces?
Once again, the forum was the Recreation and Park Commission's monthly meeting, this one July 19. Read more »

Habitat Potential

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The biggest deterrent for the east-west migratory subset of species homo sapiens is a lack of niche habitat in San Francisco. While a unique western habitat like San Francisco offers much “to do” for the migrating easterner, the difficulty has been ingratiation with local population. Repeatedly, the search is for “common ground.”

On a steamy Sunday afternoon bird walk along Land’s End, this is how the ecologists were rapping -- about pigeon guillemots and oystercatchers, and not bereft New Englanders. Read more »

A tale of two museums

The Presidio Trust's choice between the California Indian Museum and Cultural Center and the Disney Museum speaks volumes about what's happening in San Francisco's national park
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amanda@sfbg.com
The Presidio, converted from military to civilian use 12 years ago, has six million square feet of former officers’ quarters, barracks, and buildings that make it unlike any other national park in the country.
This public space has become home to a mixed bag of occupants — primarily private citizens, a smattering of nonprofit organizations, and an increasing number of commercial enterprises — as the Presidio Trust pursues a controversial congressional mandate to be financially self-sustaining.
Two different museums have also vied for residence at the site of the park's Main P Read more »

Presidio bust

City officials and residents push the Presidio Trust to pay attention to more than just the bottom line
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amanda@sfbg.com
Can the Presidio Trust afford to listen to its neighbors? If not, it may just find city officials willing to play hardball over a controversial housing project.
Look at a map of San Francisco. Look closely at the northwestern corner: there are 1,491 acres of federally owned and operated land occupying about 20 percent of the city's space. Read more »

Party on

Mayor's Office steps in to ease the booze ban for North Beach festivals
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amanda@sfbg.com

"San Franciscans will still be able to enjoy their beer in the park at the event," an elated Robbie Kowal told the Guardian on the afternoon of June 2, fresh out of a meeting in which the Mayor's Office brokered a deal to save the North Beach Jazz Fest.Read more »

Ma's moneybags

Burton-funded independent expenditures launch late hit pieces on Reilly
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amanda@sfbg.com

As many predicted, late independent expenditures on behalf of District 12 California Assembly candidate Fiona Ma are flooding into the race, aimed at tarnishing her opponent, Janet Reilly, with Web ads, TV spots, and mailers. To date, more than $750,000 has been spent by nine IE committees supporting Fiona Ma. In addition to the million dollars flowing through her campaign's piggy bank, that bumps her into the bucks-deluxe category of the 2006 primaries.Read more »

Whole paycheck

Plans for upscale supermarket worry Haight Ashbury residents
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amanda@sfbg.com

On a Sunday afternoon, the Cala Foods at Stanyan and Haight is a dismal sight. Thrifty shoppers, beckoned by the 6070 percent off price tags walk out into the drizzle, empty-handed. The doors close permanently May 24, and there isn't much left.Read more »

Another round

New events coalition raises a ruckus after a second North Beach festival is denied a permit to sell booze
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news@sfbg.com

Members of the newly formed San Francisco Outdoor Events Coalition gathered on the evening of May 3. It had been a long, discouraging day, and the mood was somber.

Robbie Kowal of the North Beach Jazz Festival apologized for not having an agenda ready. "Frankly, I was too busy fighting for the future of my festival at City Hall today," he joked, but nobody really laughed.Read more »

Last call?

City commission pushes booze ban at North Beach festivals, raising concerns about an antifun crackdown at the start of the street fair season
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news@sfbg.com

Concerns about public drinking in North Beach and stifled public debate are conspiring to cripple a pair of popular outdoor festivals, possibly creating a troubling precedent for other events at the start of San Francisco's festival and street fair season.

"We'll have to cancel this year's festival," Robbie Kowal, who runs the North Beach Jazz Festival, said of the possibility of not getting his alcohol permit. "Seventy-five percent of our funding comes from the sale of alcohol."Read more »