Rebecca Bowe

Newsom's fancy gift, trip to China


The Chronicle's got a story today about how Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's personal investments and earnings, documented in an economic disclosure form released by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), make him a lot richer than his boss, Gov. Jerry Brown.

The form also discloses travel payments and gifts Newsom received in 2010, which makes for some interesting reading. For one, San Francisco's former mayor evidently received a very expensive pen (made by Louis Vuitton and valued at $398) last year from this guy. Read more »

Sorry, Chuck, it's not over yet


A Saturday editorial by the Chronicle's C.W. (Chuck) Nevius suggested that the Haight Ashbury Neighborhood Council (HANC) Recycling Center would face final closure this coming Friday, March 4, because the Recreation & Park Department had issued a notice stating that the lease would be terminated on that date. Read more »

Tasers vs. talk

Mental health advocates worry that Tasers could undermine SFPD's de-escalation training


At a Feb. 23 Police Commission hearing, San Francisco interim Police Chief Jeff Godown told the civilian oversight board he wanted to investigate Tasers as a less-lethal weapon for San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) officers. Speaking to a room crammed full of community advocates who had turned out to rail against the idea, Godown seemed to try to preemptively address a concern that opponents were sure to raise during public comment.Read more »

Messages to the next police chief


While researching Tasers in the wake of last week's police commission hearing, I came upon an online series published while the city of San Jose was considering candidates for police chief. Created by Silicon Valley De-Bug as part of an effort with San Jose's Coalition for Justice and Accountability, the project featured the messages of people who wished to share their personal stories with the next top cop. Read more »

Taser proposal will move forward


Following a hearing at the San Francisco Police Commission that stretched late into the night, the seven-member panel voted 6 to 1 to authorize the San Francisco Police Department to develop a proposal for implementing Tasers or other less-lethal weapons.

Representatives from immigrant advocacy groups, communities of color, queer and transgender communities, mental-health professional organizations, and civil-rights watchdog groups turned out en masse to voice opposition to the plan. Out of around 50 speakers, just one spoke in favor of adopting Tasers. Read more »

Delta fish may not be “too far gone” after all


The San Francisco Chronicle had this dire environmental pronouncement on its front page last week: “Delta fish may be too far gone to save, plan hints.”

Summarizing a report released by the Delta Stewardship Council, the article suggested that California’s salmon and Delta smelt -- a delicate creature that’s sort of an aquatic equivalent to a canary in a coal mine -- might be going the way of the dodo due to longterm environmental impacts. Even worse, it didn’t sound as if there was anything conservationists, state agencies, nor anyone else could do about it.

Aside from being downright depressing, that narrative sounded a little, er, fishy. No one disputes that the Delta has been dramatically impacted by environmental problems, and concerns about diminishing fish populations are well founded. Fights over pumping freshwater out of the Delta have been dragging on for years, pitting environmentalists and commercial fishermen against powerful water districts in arid regions.

Read more »

Meet the new boss

Ed Lee has been mayor for six weeks. Does his administration represent a change — or more of the same?


The Guardian hasn't been invited into City Hall's Room 200 for a long time. Former Mayor Gavin Newsom, who frequently criticized this newspaper in his public statements, had a tendency to freeze out his critics, adopting a supercilious and vinegary attitude toward any members of the press who questioned his policy decisions. So it was almost surreal when a smiling Mayor Ed Lee cordially welcomed two Guardian reporters into his stately office Feb. 15.Read more »

Police Commission braces for another Taser debate


The San Francisco Police Department, police commissioners, and community advocates are gearing up for another debate about whether or not SFPD officers should carry and use Tasers. The hearing will be held at tomorrow’s Feb. 23 police commission meeting. Read more »

“My girlfriend is a hacker”: Inside the EFF party


On our way to the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s 21st Birthday party, my programmer friend explained to me why, if it weren’t for the work of the good folks over at EFF, neither eBay nor WikiLeaks could do their thing. Read more »

Planned Parenthood calls for support against GOP attack


As the struggle to keep the doors open at the legendary women's clinic, Lyon-Martin Health Services, continues here in San Francisco, yet another blow to women's health care at the national level has advocates sounding the alarm. Planned Parenthood has issued a call for help defeating a federal bill it's calling "the most dangerous legislative assault on women's health and Planned Parenthood in our 95-year history."

Congress is gearing up to vote on the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would eliminate federal funding for all health-care services provided by any clinic that offers abortion services. The legislation places Planned Parenthood, a leading national provider of reproductive health care serving primarily low-income and uninsured women, squarely in the crosshairs. Read more »