Guardian Staff Writers

Stage listings

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Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com.

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Put new taxes in the budget

The mayor is cutting essential services instead of looking for progressive ways to bring in new revenue
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EDITORIAL Mayor Gavin Newsom still wants to balance this year's municipal budget with no new taxes (although he's happy to raise the fees to use city facilities). The supervisors are looking at a different approach: John Avalos, chair of the budget committee, told us he'd like to see $100 million in new revenue on the table. Read more »

Stage listings

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Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com.

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How SF can get $50 million a year from PG&E

The state Legislature should mandate that all perpetual utility franchises increase every year by the cost of living index
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EDITORIAL Sup. John Avalos, who chairs the Budget Committee, is looking for ways to bring another $100 million into the city's coffers this year. There's a hotel tax initiative headed for the fall ballot. He's talking about an increase in the real-estate transfer tax for high-end properties. And he and his colleagues are looking into a tax on commercial rents. Read more »

How SF can get $50 million a year from PG&E

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EDITORIAL Sup. John Avalos, who chairs the Budget Committee, is looking for ways to bring another $100 million into the city's coffers this year. There's a hotel tax initiative headed for the fall ballot. He's talking about an increase in the real-estate transfer tax for high-end properties. And he and his colleagues are looking into a tax on commercial rents.

Those are all valid ideas. But there's another way the city can bring in as much as $50 million more a year — without raising anyone's taxes. It just involves increasing the franchise fee Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pays to the city.

PG&E uses the city's streets and rights-of-way to run its gas lines and electricity cables; the company doesn't pay rent for that space. Instead, it pays an annual franchise fee to the city, a percentage of its gross sales. Other utilities pay, too — Comcast, for example, pays 5 percent of its gross to San Francisco every year for its cable-TV franchise.

PG&E pays 0.05 percent for electricity sales, and 1 percent for natural gas.

That deal was reached in 1939. The Board of Supervisors back then gave PG&E the lowest franchise fee in California, a pittance, a fraction of what other cities and counties charge — and the contract has no expiration date. It's a perpetual deal, something highly unusual.

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Our Weekly Picks: June 16-22, 2010

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WEDNESDAY 16

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Frameline short takes

FRAMELINE: Quick looks at some highlights of the film fest

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The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (James Kent, UK, 2010) A BBC production set in the northern English countryside of the early 19th century, James Kent's The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister depicts the amatory adventures of a gentlewoman landowner (Maxine Peake) in search of a "female companion" with whom to live out her days. The narrative is somewhat breathless, the seductions equally so and yet a bit anemic, and our strong-willed, fearless heroine is admirable without being entirely engaging. Read more »

Stage listings

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Stage listings are compiled by Guardian staff. Performance times may change; call venues to confirm. Reviewers are Robert Avila, Rita Felciano, and Nicole Gluckstern. Submit items for the listings at listings@sfbg.com.

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Editorial: PG&E's greed backfires

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The defeat of Prop. 16 showed that unlimited corporate spending on a ballot initiative doesn't guarantee victory.

EDITORIAL The single most important number to come out of San Francisco on election night was this: 67.49 percent. That's how many people in this city voted against Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s monopoly measure, Proposition 16. It's a statistic that ought to be posted somewhere on a wall at City Hall to remind everyone in local government that the voters sided overwhelmingly against PG&E and in favor of a public option for local electricity. Read more »