Rebecca Bowe

Coal company gets punked by the Yes Men

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The Yes Men, that prankster-activist group that has ruined many a corporate exective's day, have struck again. This time their target is the notorious Peabody coal company, which operates environmentally devastating mountaintop removal mining sites in West Virginia and has strip mining operations in Arizona. Read more »

Boxed out

Fiber-optic proponents think beyond AT&T's proposed network upgrades

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

The Board of Supervisors is gearing up to revisit whether telecommunications giant AT&T should be permitted to install 726 new metal boxes on city sidewalks for a communications network upgrade, without completing an environmental impact review.

At an April 26 meeting, the board spent several tedious hours listening to concerns such as whether the boxes would attract graffiti or clutter the sidewalks, and debated the finer points of whether the project could legally be considered exempt, ultimately resolving to take up the issue again May 24. Read more »

Super yachts are hard to move

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The Guardian spotted a colossal sailboat mast getting wheeled down Illinois Street yesterday, as it was being transported from a warehouse on Pier 80 to SF Boat Works, a boat yard beside The Ramp restaurant on Terry Francois Boulevard. Read more »

Power and shared wealth

PG&E's far-reaching influence even links it to San Bruno explosion investigators

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

In the 1930s, political cartoonists often portrayed California's monolithic Pacific Gas & Electric Co. as a giant octopus, its tentacles extending into every sphere of civic life. If money buys influence, the cephalopod analogy may still be apt today when considering the company's tally of corporate giving, part of a detailed filing with the California Public Utilities Commission.Read more »

Historic preservation debate raises a slew of questions

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The Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee spent several hours yesterday hearing from city officials and members of the public on the hot-button issue of historic preservation. The informational hearing was called by Sup. Read more »

Are you really middle class?

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A fascinating article appeared in the New York Times a couple days ago about the bias people tend to have when it comes to beliefs about their own economic standing in relation to the rest of society. It seems a trio of researchers found that Argentinians tend to view their personal economic classifications in much the same way people in the United States do: Everyone believes they are middle class. Read more »

And the next chief is...yes, Suhr!

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Mayor Ed Lee appointed a deeply emotional Captain Greg Suhr as Chief of the San Francisco Police Department during a swearing-in ceremony where the majority of folks were either elected officials, running for election, running each other’s electoral campaigns—or wearing SFPD uniforms.

And in the end it seemed that the choice may have been influenced by pressure from the powerful San Francisco Police Officers Association, judging from the comment Lee jokingly directed at SFPOA leader Gary Delagnes, saying, “Gary, it’s time to get quiet and go to work.” Read more »

Earth Day in City Hall ... on Wells Fargo's dime

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Who was lucky enough to get treated to Mayor Ed Lee's Earth Day Breakfast in City Hall, with the city's top politicos and a smattering of high-profile San Franciscans? After noticing that the Board of Supervisors had approved a grant of $12,000 from Wells Fargo a few weeks ago to sponsor the event, the Guardian contacted the Mayor's Office to ask for the guest list. The response came from the city's Department of the Environment, which accepted the donation and organized the affair. Read more »

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee stepping down

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Word's out that Peter Darbee, the Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Gas & Electric Corporation, is stepping down. Darbee's departure comes amid a federal investigation into the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion, which resulted in tragic loss of life, devastated an entire neighborhood, and served to highlight safety issues with the utility's vast network of underground gas transmission pipelines. Read more »

When the feds come knocking

Electronic Frontier Foundation calls on major Internet companies to protect user privacy

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

Three supporters of WikiLeaks have been locked in a months-long court battle with the U.S. government following demands for data associated with their Twitter accounts, and the case has given rise to a campaign calling for improved transparency and user privacy protection across the board, spearheaded by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).Read more »