Andrew Tolve

Concierges on the cheap

SF hotels outsource tourist services to the tour bus companies, unbeknownst to their guests
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The concierge desk in the lobby of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel was doing a brisk business on a recent Sunday afternoon. Located a few strides north of Union Square, the Drake is best known for its colorful doormen, who work the curb out front in cartoonishly red costumes. But on this day the doormen seemed to be just killing time, while the concierge, a tall blond named Jill Schultze, was dealing with the long line inside.

"How can I help you?" Schultze asked the elderly couple at the front of the queue. Read more »

Mining metadata

Supervisors OK the release of information buried beneath public documents
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The Board of Supervisors' Rules Committee unanimously recommended Nov. 30 that all parts of a city document should remain in the public domain, including the document's electronic fabric, or metadata.
If approved by the full board, which seems likely, the decision will signal a victory for a small but vocal group of activists who view metadata as an important front in the battle for public access to government documents.
Metadata is defined as data about data — information that can reveal nuances of a document, such as where it was created, how it was modified, and when it was transmitted. Read more »

Campus crush

SF State has ambitious expansion plans — and its neighbors aren't exactly thrilled
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It's easy to forget about the Villas Parkmerced.
Nestled in the foggiest, most sedate corner of San Francisco, the 62-year-old planned community feels like a slice of suburbia for seniors and families.
"There's grass. There's trees. There's traffic circles where the cars can't speed too damn much and knock off the pedestrians," says 82-year-old Robert Pender, a tenant since 1967. Read more »

Shades of green

The West Coast Green conference highlights San Francisco for its leadership — and shortcomings — in environmentally sensitive building
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An assembly of the nation's premier green architects, engineers, academics, and policy makers was gathered Sept. 28 in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, patiently awaiting a keynote address from Mayor Gavin Newsom. Read more »