Rebecca Bowe

Train that struck and killed two BART workers was operated by trainee

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National Transportation Safety Board investigator James Southworth confirmed at a press conference on the afternoon of Oct. 21 that the train that struck two BART workers was “in operation for training and maintenance purposes,” and that the operator at the time of the fatal crash was a trainee. He said two of the six people on board were trainees.

The NTSB conducted interviews for 8-10 hours with the train operator, the operator's supervisor and someone from the dispatch office. Read more »

Undocumented immigrant activists block deportation bus

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A group of young, undocumented immigrant activists temporarily halted a deportation bus from leaving downtown San Francisco on Oct. 17. The bus was parked outside Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices at 630 Sansome Street, where detainees are held during the day while they await court hearings.

They said they were inspired by recent actions in Arizona, and were putting themselves at risk to send a message to President Barack Obama that all deportations should be halted until federal immigration reform is in place.Read more »

"Suspicious package" found at Union Square did not contain a bomb

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Police closed off Union Square this afternoon, Thu/17, while the San Francisco Police Department’s bomb squad investigated the contents of a “suspicious package” located there just before noon.

At 1:49 pm, police sent an update, saying: “The suspicious package at Union Square has been secured. There was no merit to a hazardous device. Streets are being reopened.”Read more »

Is it another tech bubble?

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Apparently economists hired by the city are wondering if San Francisco is headed for another tech bubble. In the meantime, they’ve also documented how dramatically the cost of housing has increased – even though wages in almost every sector except tech have failed to keep pace with the higher rents and housing prices.Read more »

Lock-up shake up

Questions raised about longstanding plan for rehab-focused jail rebuild

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rebecca@sfbg.com

Should San Francisco spend $290 million on a modernized jail to replace the old ones that will be demolished when the Hall of Justice comes down?

That's been the plan for years, but the Board of Supervisors Budget & Finance Committee started to ponder that question at its Oct. 9 meeting, setting the stage for a larger debate that hinges on questions about what it means to take a progressive approach to incarceration.Read more »

Watch this depressing time-lapse visualization of Ellis Act evictions

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A series of red circles explodes on the screen, each representing another rental unit where tenants were driven out by an eviction through no fault of their own.

With a new time-lapse visualization of San Francisco Rent Board data spanning from 1997 to August of 2013, viewers can instantly grasp the cumulative impact of Ellis Act evictions in San Francisco.

It was created by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, a newly hatched volunteer effort started to raise awareness about the rising trend of displacement in the San Francisco Bay Area.Read more »

Market Street tenants still facing uncertainty

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Anxiety continues to run high at 1049 Market Street in San Francisco, where 60 tenants who received eviction notices last month still lack clarity on whether they will ultimately be ousted or allowed to stay.

“I really feel like I’m being forced out,” said Chandra Redack, a tenant who has lived in the building for more than nine years and in San Francisco since 1982. “And that puts a lump in my throat.” Read more »

Fighting climate change, with crowd funding and Google Hangouts

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A young San Francisco couple, Ryan Kushner and Amanda Ravenhill, are trying out a new approach to climate change activism that they hope will ultimately reach thousands of people via online videos and interactive web-based trainings.Read more »

San Francisco agency agrees to legalize mid-Maket units slated for eviction

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Moving can be a huge, stressful, harrowing ordeal. But now, some 300 tenants living at 1049 and 1067 Market Street might be spared from having to relocate thanks to organized resistance from tenants’ rights activists and the intervention of local elected officials to halt an eviction from going forward.

It's the second major grassroots victory this week.Read more »

Friends in the shadows

How developers, corporations, and city contractors buy influence in San Francisco City Hall -- a 47th anniversary Guardian special investigation

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rebecca@sfbg.com, joe@sfbg.com

It's a simple fact of life: Money buys influence. But in San Francisco, despite strict sunshine laws to illuminate donations to city agencies and gifts to the regulators from the regulated, money still circulates in the shadows when it flows through the coffers of "Friends" in high places.Read more »