Guardian Editorial

The agenda for Mayor Lee

We urge him to make a clean break with the past and set the city in a new direction. Here are a few ways to get started

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EDITORIAL San Francisco has its first Chinese American mayor, and that's a major, historic milestone. Let's remember: Chinese immigrants were among the most abused and marginalized communities in the early days of San Francisco. In 1870, the city passed a series of laws limiting the rights of Chinese people to work and live in large parts of the city. Chinese workers built much of the Transcontinental Railroad — at slave wages and in desperately unsafe conditions that led to a large number of deaths. Read more »

How Brown can save California

It's crazy to say that solving a $28 billion budget shortfall is easy, but a few basic changes could go a very long way to balancing the books

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EDITORIAL There are two things Gov. Jerry Brown has to do to get California back on track, and he needs to start right away. He has to restore at least a degree of public faith in state government — and he has to put a series of tax increases on the June ballot.Read more »

Get out of the way, Mr. Mayor

Newsom knew when he decided to seek higher office that he'd be leaving the city early if he won

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EDITORIAL Let us begin with the obvious: Mayor Gavin Newsom has absolutely no business deciding who should replace him. His petulant statements suggesting that he will delay taking office as lieutenant governor until the supervisors pick a candidate he likes are an embarrassment to the city. If he actually refuses to take the oath of office Jan. 3, when his term in Sacramento begins, it will damage his reputation and political career.Read more »

How many suspects did SF cops frame?

A crisis that requires active intervention from the District Attorney's Office

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EDITORIAL The job of a district attorney is bringing criminals to justice; everybody knows that. But it's also the job of the city's top law enforcement agent to make sure the innocent are protected — and that's a part that many DAs ignore.Read more »

EDITORIAL: How many suspects did SF cops frame?

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The job of a district attorney is bringing criminals to justice; everybody knows that. But it's also the job of the city's top law enforcement agent to make sure the innocent are protected — and that's a part that many DAs ignore.

There's considerable evidence that the San Francisco police have framed suspects, set up evidence, and illegally manipulated the legal system to put the wrong people behind bars. Repeatedly. That's a crisis that requires active intervention from the District Attorney's Office — and since Kamala Harris is on her way out the door, it has to be a top priority for her successor.

The latest example: Superior Court Judge Marla Miller ruled Dec. 14 that Caramad Conley was denied his constitutional rights and convicted of murder after San Francisco cops allowed a paid witness to lie on the stand.

Miller concluded that homicide inspector Earl Sanders, who later became police chief and is now retired on a nice pension, knew that witness Clifford Polk was lying and made no effort to correct it.

Read more »

Local hiring -- and purchasing

Making a huge difference that would translate into many millions of dollars for the San Francisco economy

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EDITORIAL The local hire ordinance that the Board of Supervisors approved last week once again puts the city on the cutting edge of progressive policy. San Francisco's law, sponsored by Sup. John Avalos, is the strongest in the country, and ultimately will mandate that 50 percent of all the people hired on public works projects live in the city. Read more »

EDITORIAL: Local hiring, and purchasing

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Tomorrow's Guardian editorial:

The local hire ordinance that the Board of Supervisors approved last week once again puts the city on the cutting edge of progressive policy. San Francisco's law, sponsored by Sup. John Avalos, is the strongest in the country, and ultimately will mandate that 50 percent of all the people hired on public works projects live in the city.

The politics of the bill were tricky; the local building trades unions opposed it on the grounds that many of their members live out of town and that hiring decisions should be based on seniority, not on residence. But eight supervisors recognized that a local hire law not only benefits the large numbers of unemployed San Franciscans; it's also good economic policy for the city.

Numerous studies have shown that money paid out to local residents gets spent in town, and circulates in town, and creates more economic activity. That translates into fewer social and economic costs for the city and increased tax revenue.

Read more »

EDITORIAL: No PG&E caretaker

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We've made it clear in several editorials that the Board of Supervisors would be wasting a great opportunity and making a political mistake by choosing a mayor who vows to serve only as a "caretaker" and not run in the fall. A caretaker would lack the authority to make the significant changes that are needed at City Hall — and a vow not to run again would deprive the voters of the right to choose the next chief executive of the city. What would happen if the interim mayor did a great job? What if the so-called caretaker turns out to be the perfect person to continue on in the role?

But the real danger is that the board might choose a caretaker who not only continues the dangerous and divisive policies of Mayor Gavin Newsom, but sends the city in the wrong direction on the key decisions that will come up in the next 12 months.

Read more »

The America's Cup rip-off

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EDITORIAL Gigantic international sporting events tend to be great fun for the people who attend. They make great promotional videos for the host city. They can generate big revenue and profits for some private businesses.

But when the party's over and the bills come due, these extravaganzas aren't always a boon to the municipal treasury. And at a time when San Francisco can't afford to pay for teachers and nurses and recreation directors, the supervisors ought to be giving much greater scrutiny to the deal that could bring the America's Cup yacht races to the bay.Read more »

The screwy rules for mayoral succession

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EDITORIAL The clerk of the Board of Supervisors, at the request of Board President David Chiu, has released a proposal for the selection process for a new mayor, and it's about as complicated and confusing as everyone expected. That's in part the result of the vagueness of the City Charter, which simply specifies that a vacancy in the office of mayor shall be filled by a San Francisco registered voter chosen by a majority of the supervisors but offers no procedural clues on how to get there. Read more »