Guardian Editorial

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 »

Questions for the next mayor

It's entirely appropriate for progressive board members to set some standards

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EDITORIAL The progressives on the Board of Supervisors are a long way from united on a possible mayoral candidate, and if they can't come together, the person who finishes Gavin Newsom's term will be a compromise candidate, either a short-term caretaker (not the greatest option) or someone who's more in the moderate camp but a candidate the left can work with — for 2011 and possibly four years after that.Read more »

How not to choose a mayor

Here are some basic ground rules for the next two months

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EDITORIAL There are plenty of good arguments among progressives about who would be the best person to replace Gavin Newsom as mayor and how the Board of Supervisors should make that decision. It's a complicated situation: The next mayor will face a horrible budget deficit, all sorts of tough decisions — and then face the voters in 10 months. And if the board appoints a progressive, that person will face a hostile daily newspaper and several well-funded opponents in the fall.Read more »

Controlling big money campaigns

Two major steps San Francisco can take to rein in shady campaign financing

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Big money moved into the district supervisorial races this fall. Downtown forces, working with landlords and a labor union that wants a giant new hospital on Van Ness Avenue, are pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into races in Districts 6, 8, and 10, trying to alter the direction of the board by electing more conservative candidates. And while district races allow grassroots candidates without huge war chests a decent shot at winning, all this cash is going to have an impact — and might prove to be decisive in some races.Read more »

East Bay endorsements 2010

There are plenty of important races and issues on the ballot in the East Bay. Here are our endorsements for Berkeley and Oakland

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BART BOARD DISTRICT 4

ROBERT RABURN

Incumbent Carole Ward Allen has been a disappointment, part of the moribund BART establishment that wastes money on pointless extensions, ignores urban cores, and can't control its own police force. Robert Raburn, a bicycle activist with a PhD in transportation and urban geography, would be a great replacement. If he's elected, and Bert Hill wins in San Francisco, BART will have two more progressive transit activists to join Tom Radulovich. Vote for Raburn.

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