Rebecca Bowe

Friends in the shadows

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


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 »

Alleged Silk Road owner busted in San Francisco


The government may have shut down, but that didn’t stop the feds from arresting Ross William Ulbricht, allegedly the owner of the Silk Road, an underground website that allows users to buy and sell drugs and other illicit items anonymously. The FBI also seized the equivalent of more than $3 million in Bitcoin, the cryptographic alternate currency used to make Silk Road transactions.Read more »

Problems arise from Due Process for All amendments


At today's (Tue/1) meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to grant final approval to Sup. John Avalos’ historic legislation, Due Process for All, which limits cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities under the Secure Communities program (S-Comm). But now that amendments have been incorporated in an effort to fend off a mayoral veto, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department has raised questions about whether the law can actually be implemented as written.Read more »

"Sleep-in" planned in response to Albany Bulb evictions


As we recently reported, more than 60 homeless residents are facing eviction from the Albany Bulb. For decades, penniless and marginalized Bay Area residents have taken up residence in the unique shoreline park, creating makeshift structures and a tenuous yet tight-knit community. A former landfill, the Bulb is also a popular urban refuge that lures weekend adventurers and dog walkers with wild nature trails and DIY art pieces.Read more »

Blow your mind

Soon you can get a Ph.D. in human sexuality in San Francisco


SEX Examples of Americans' obsession with sex abound. It seemed the mainstream media would never get over Miley Cyrus' ostentatious twerking at the Video Music Awards. Politician Anthony Weiner managed to live down his sexting scandal, only to mar his comeback with still more sexting. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" broke records for its searing popularity, but its rape-y message inspired a feminist parody, substituting the lyrics "you're a good girl" with "you're a douchebag."Read more »

Evictions and gentrification fuel widespread concern in the Mission


A mix of neighborhood merchants, community activists and a couple City Hall staffers met for a community forum Sept. 23 on Mission gentrification, voicing anger and frustration about rising displacement in the face of soaring rents.

Arranged by organizer Andy Blue, the forum was hosted by Rose Aguilar of Your Call Radio and held at the Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics on Valencia Street.Read more »

Is the new iPhone fingerprint reader hacked yet?


Apparently, the answer is yes. Wired is reporting that a German hacker with the European organization Chaos Computer Club has found a way to fake out Apple’s brand new Touch ID fingerprint reader, rolled out as a security feature. Read more »

Community forum planned on Mission gentrification


The recent debate about high-end retailer Jack Spade seeking to open up shop in the former location of Adobe Books has placed concerns about gentrification in San Francisco’s Mission District to the front burner yet again.

To spark a dialogue about an appropriate community response to the changing fabric of the neighborhood, community activists have organized a discussion forum scheduled for Monday, Sept. 23.Read more »

Corporate welfare booming

San Francisco's business tax breaks reach $14.2 million for 2012, up from $4.2 million in 2011


Business tax breaks instituted by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and other corporate-friendly local politicians to stimulate growth in tech, biotech, and cleantech, diverted roughly $14.2 million from city coffers in 2012, records show. That's a staggering increase from 2011, when the city's corporate welfare programs amounted to roughly $4.2 million.Read more »

Bay Bridge turns Brown


The California Senate gave its blessing to the rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Sept. 12, blatantly disregarding its own rules and strong local opposition to the proposal.

Since ACR 65 is a nonbinding resolution, Gov. Jerry Brown cannot veto it even though he went on record earlier this week saying the 77-year-old bridge should keep the same name it's always had.

San Francisco Sens. Mark Leno and Leland Yee both voted in favor of the resolution.Read more »