Amanda Witherell

LIT: Beautiful photography exposes crude reality

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photo by Lou Dematteis

Crude Reflections opens with pastoral scenes of a rainforest lagoon and the looming roots of a giant ceiba tree. Indigenous Ecuadorians are dancing in an open-air hall and traveling by canoe down tributaries of the Amazon River. A placid stretch of water seems threatened by nothing more than a puffy white thunderhead.

Turn the page. Read more »

Yum! Local food party!

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Munchies from Chez Panisse, Millenium, and Serpentine. Cubes of jack and cheddar from Spring Hill Cheese Company. Maybe a glass of sangiovese from Long Meadow Ranch or a rose from Berkeley’s Donkey and Goat winery. Cap it off with a slice of Mission Pie and scoops from Bi-Rite Creamery.

Damn. Read more »

PG&E lobbying doubletime

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image courtesy of www.opensecrets.org

PG&E spent almost $2 million on lobbying during the first quarter of 2008, according to an Associated Press report today. Last year they spent just under $4 million, which means they're pacing to spend double that this year. Read more »

City sues ExxonMobil

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440 Jefferson St. to Exxon: "Clean me!"

Man...city attorney Dennis Herrera is on a roll these days. Gay marriage out of the way, he’s now moved on to the largest corporation in the world. Hot.

The city is suing ExxonMobil for its “defiant refusal to address environmental damage caused by decades of disposal and release of hazardous petroleum products on property owned by the Port of San Francisco in the City's Fisherman's Wharf area,” according to a press release. Read more »

Let's change the bike laws

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Should bicyclists be allowed to treat stop signs as “yields” and stop lights like stop signs? Tomorrow, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Bicycle working group will be pondering the question.

Idaho, recognizing the law of momentum is just as important as the vehicle traffic code, already adopted this practice back in 1982. Read more »

Humanize humanity! Theatre of the Oppressed workshop

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A two-day Theatre of the Oppressed workshop is coming to the Bay Area in July. It's open to anyone interested in learning how to use theatre as a way to get people to understand and care about social, environmental, and political justice issues. It's been used in prisons, schools, war zones, rural villages, and urban streets. Read more »

Another shelter down

Women are casualties as St. Anthony shuts Marian Residence
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amanda@sfbg.com

Inside the front door of the Marian Residence for Women, a small handmade sign by a former resident advises newcomers, "Don't compare this place to any others."

But I've stayed in the city-funded homeless shelters, and after a night at Marian, it's hard not to rave about the differences. I'm given an actual bed to sleep on, with freshly laundered sheets, blankets, and a pillow. The bathrooms and showers are clean, and I'm offered every toiletry I could possibly need — as well as pajamas. Read more »

Sunshine Task Force shoe-in shot down

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Chalk this one up in the “take nothing for granted” category.

The Board of Supervisors at today’s meeting gave an empty seat on the Sunshine Task Force to James Knoebber, rather than David Waggoner -- the candidate recommended by Rules Committee. The switch came from Sup. Sean Elsbernd, who happens to be sitting on the opposite side of the courtroom as Waggoner in a case currently before the Ethics Commission.

Yet, there was no discussion about the amendment from Elsbernd to vote in Knoebber over Waggoner. Read more »

Stunning doublespeak on electricity rates

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While PG&E is requesting the California Public Utilities Commission allow them a 6.5 percent electricity rate hike over the next six months, ostensibly to cover skyrocketing natural gas prices, they’re telling local citizens they’re expecting prices to drop. Read more »

Newsom's power play

"Have they been concerned about what's clean, about our people?"
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amanda@sfbg.com

GREEN CITY Mayor Gavin Newsom finally outlined what he calls a "more promising way forward than the current proposal" of building two publicly owned power plants in San Francisco.

The way forward: retrofit three existing diesel turbines at the Mirant-Potrero Power Plant, while simultaneously shutting down Mirant's most polluting smokestack, Unit 3.

Newsom wrote a letter to the Board of Supervisors just before a June 3 hearing on the power plants, describing a May 23 meeting that he convened with SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, City Att Read more »