Rebecca Bowe

Deep-pocketed Lee supporter aims to take back S.F. from progressives

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Power brokers Willie Brown and Rose Pak aren't nearly the only influential backers working behind the scenes to help elect Mayor Ed Lee to a full term. Three different committees have been set up to support his candidacy and are fundraising independently from his official campaign, according to Ethics Commission filings. Read more »

Hikers could be freed within days

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Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the American hikers who have been detained in Iran for more than two years, could be freed "in a couple of days," according to statements made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on NBC's "Today" show and reported by the Associated Press. An Iranian court has set bail for each of them at $500,000, clearing the way for their release.Read more »

Powell station shut down by BART protest

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A Sept. 8 protest called to test the limits of the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) agency's policies on freedom of speech inside BART stations ended in a cluster of protesters and journalists being coralled by nightstick-wielding BART officers, detained, and in some cases, arrested. The station was shut down at around 6 p.m. when police surrounded a group of demonstrators who had marched around the unpaid area of the transit station, as well as a group of media who were following them with cameras and voice recorders.Read more »

BART, PG&E targeted for protests

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Protesters plan to descend upon downtown San Francisco on Sept. 8 and 9, as two separate groups of organizers are calling for mobilizations against the Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E). Read more »

Team Avalos

As a mayoral candidate, Sup. John Avalos casts himself as a movement builder

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When Supervisor John Avalos chaired the Budget & Finance Committee in 2009 and 2010, his office became a bustling place in the thick of the budget process. To gain insight on the real-life effects of the mayor's proposed spending cuts, Avalos and his City Hall staff played host to neighborhood service providers, youth workers, homeless advocates, labor leaders, and other San Franciscans who stood to be directly impacted by the axe that would fall when the final budget was approved. Read more »

Caught in a RAT trap

SFPD's expensive Robbery Abatement Team stings don't always snag the thieves they're out to get

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

Things are not always as they seem. That's a lesson Matthew Martinez and Thad Conley learned the hard way — each of them after becoming unwitting targets of San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) sting operations that landed them in San Francisco County Jail, bewildered.

It was early October of 2010, and Martinez had just finished his shift as a chef at a San Francisco restaurant and was headed home when he encountered a man who seemed very intoxicated, near Eighth and Mission streets. The man asked him for a cigarette, so Martinez handed him one.Read more »

Workin' at the car wash

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Worker advocates with La Raza Centro Legal and the San Francisco Day Labor Program are partnering with city officials for a creative approach to addressing the pervasive issue of wage theft: A worker-owned car wash. Read more »

Inside the V.I.P. cocktail party with Willie Brown

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The Alliance for Jobs and Sustainable Growth hosted a V.I.P. reception just before a mayoral candidate forum held at UCSF Aug. 16, and former Mayor Willie Brown appeared to be the guest of honor. Although the theme of the event was technically "honoring San Francisco's mayors" -- former Mayor Frank Jordan was there, someone indicated that former Mayor Art Agnos was in the room, former Mayor Gavin Newsom was invited but didn't show, and Mayor Ed Lee was of course in attendence -- Brown seemed to be given more prominent recognition than any of the others. Read more »

BART officer information hacked and released

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UPDATE: See below for text of a conversation with an anonymous hacker who takes credit for hacking the BART police site.Read more »

So much for civility

Mayor's race gets interesting as barbs fly

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

The San Francisco mayor's race went from a lackluster affair to a dynamic match as the Aug. 12 filing deadline drew near and two prominent city officials who had previously said they wouldn't run tossed their hats into the ring.Read more »