Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez

Starving in a boom

The most expensive city in the nation grapples with a hunger problem

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On the day before Christmas Eve, a line of hungry San Franciscans winds its way to the second floor of the Women's Building on 18th Street. There, in a sunlit room, people take their pick of free food: fresh fruit, chicken, canned goods and pasta. This pantry is one of over 200 in the city supplied by the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks.

Acacia Woods-Chen, the pantry's coordinator, calls off enrollment numbers in broken Cantonese and Spanish as she directs them to the needed sustenance.Read more »

The Tamale Lady finds a home

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The Tamale Lady, aka Virginia Ramos, finally has a restaurant to call her own (for real this time).

Mission Local reported today that Supervisor David Campos has secured a storefront for the Mission's favorite bar-hopping foor purveyor, a location at 16th and Mission. 

Sup. Campos' aide Nate Albee confrimed the move with Mission Local:

“It will be her very own place,” Albee says. “We pulled out all the stops, and it took six months, but we found a place.”Read more »

No decision yet following charged hearing to stall City College closure

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At a Dec. 26 hearing in San Francisco Superior Court, the City Attorney’s office argued that City College of San Francisco should not be shuttered, as long as San Francisco’s lawsuit against a regional accrediting commission remains in court.

The two-year community college, which serves roughly 85,000 students, was notified earlier this year that the regional Accreditin​g Commission for Community and Junior Colleges would terminate its accreditat​ion in July 2014, rendering the school's degrees worthless.

It would be forced to close.Read more »

A look back: The "Candlestick Swindle" in '68

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San Francisco spent this week saying goodbye to its beloved foggy stadium, Candlestick Park. Amidst the farewells, the Guardian spotted a post from sports blog Deadspin, which reprinted one of our articles from 1968  titled, "Before We Build Another Stadium... The Candlestick Swindle." Read more »

Lee: Prioritize Affordable Housing

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joe@sfbg.com 

Mayor Ed Lee announced an executive directive on Dec. 18 for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development, to prioritize construction of affordable units.Read more »

Read this: 11 national news outlets cover SF’s tech culture war

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Those of us in the Bay Area have long followed the rising rents, floods of evictions, and growing resentment between long-time Bay Area residents and the new tech elite. Now it seems the national media is catching on. National reporting of the Bay Area class war is on the rise.

We’ve rounded up some of the more colorful coverage, which runs the gamut of different perspectives (even among the so-called “objective” news outlets). Some say the resentment is understandable, some say the blame against techies is misplaced. Some, like The Huffington Post, reached out to protesters for interviews, while others simply reblogged local reporters’ Tweets and video - including the Guardian’s. 

Regardless of which of the articles you most agree with, the one thing we can all agree on is that things are changing fast. Just this week, Mayor Ed Lee announced his plan to prioritize and streamline construction of affordable housing in San Francisco. And the mayor’s pal, Ron Conway, announced via a press release today that local tech/government partnership group SF.citi will form three committees to address rising inequality in San Francisco: one on housing (led by SPUR’s Gabriel Metcalf), another on philanthropy (shaking down rich peeps for cash), and another on education (hoping to form a tech pipeline from SFUSD to SFSU to jobs). 

But why blockade the tech employee’s buses? Why not protest the mayor instead? Read more »

Mayor Lee addresses Google bus controversy

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At a press conference on affordable housing today, the Guardian asked Mayor Ed Lee about San Francisco’s favorite pinata: tech buses. The monstrous private shuttles, which daily whisk tech workers away to Silicon Valley, currently use Muni bus stops without paying fines, like most private autos do. 

In Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe’s article in the print edition of the Bay Guardian this week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose tells her that although there is a proposal in the works to regulate them, the SFMTA won’t profit a single dime from the plan. 

“We are developing these policies to better utilize the boarding zones for these shuttle providers," Rose said. "What we're trying to do is provide a more efficient transportation network."

Read more »

Mayor Lee orders affordable housing push

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Mayor Ed Lee stood on the rooftop terrace between high brick walls of the soon-to-be-built Natoma Family Apartments, and in the distance, the buzz and clanks of nearby construction echoed his message of the day: Build, baby, build. 

Today (Wed/18) the mayor announced an executive directive for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development to prioritize construction of affordable units, from completely below market rate (BMR) projects to those that have a mix of BMR and market rate units. 

The Department of Building Inspection, Mayor’s Office of Housing, Planning Department and others involved with approving development will all reorient their priorities towards getting new affordable housing built -- a stark indicator of just how potent this issue has become after months of high-profile evictions and progressive organizing and demonstrations.

“It isn’t always on the private sector, we’ve got to have a stake in the action as well,” Lee told reporters gathered at the Natoma apartment building. 

“(San Francisco) is expensive,” he said, “but we don’t have to accept it. We can do something.”

Read more »

Homework troubles

School district helps the city with affordable housing, but teachers say they're the ones who need help

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joe@sfbg.com

The San Francisco Board of Education approved a land swap with city government on Dec. 10, gifting San Francisco an empty lot that it will use to build new affordable housing. That's 115 units of living space for low-income San Francisco renters, wrapped in a bow for the holidays.Read more »

Homeless hater Greg Gopman was a jerk at the office, too

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Former AngelHack CEO Greg Gopman not only fanned the flames of San Franciscan tech resentment by calling the homeless “degenerates” and “trash” on Facebook, but it seems people in his own company didn’t like him much, either. 

Apparently the small staff of AngelHack rebelled against Gopman’s management style, leading to a power swap in October, said new AngelHack CEO Sabeen Ali. It all started when she took a vacation.Read more »