Cecile Lepage

Big Brother Obama

The federal government's electronic eavesdropping continues under the new presidential administration

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation illegally collected thousands of telephone records between 2002 and 2006, a Jan. 20 Justice Department report revealed. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) publicly scolded FBI Director Robert Mueller for the transgression, but the practice of secretly spying on Americans' international communications has become standard practice, even under the new presidential administration.Read more »

The harshest cut

Sierra timber practices aren't front-page news anymore — but the brutal devastation of clear-cutting continues apace
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news@sfbg.com

"I wake up at night at 3:30, hearing the logging trucks and knowing what's happening," Susan Robinson complains. "It makes me sick."

Robinson lives just off State Route 4 in Arnold, a Calaveras County community perched on the western slope of the Sierra.

For the past nine years, this feisty retiree has been clamoring to get Sierra Pacific Industries, California's leading timber company, to stop clear-cutting the forest. "I'm the daughter of a forester myself. I am not anti-logging," she told us. Read more »

Paving the way for privatization

City officials consider closing the municipal asphalt plant and backing a private replacement
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news@sfbg.com

City officials are considering shutting down the municipal asphalt plant — the source of material for repaving roads and fixing potholes — in order to facilitate construction of a private plant on the waterfront that the city would agree to help finance and support over the long term.

While the privatization plan is being billed by project proponents as a way to save money during tough financial times, it raises questions about whether relying on the private sector for this essential material could hurt the city's ability to make emergency repairs and Read more »