Rebecca Bowe

Fear the beard

Can an employer get away with firing someone for having facial hair?

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

Christopher Hanson, a 38-year-old single father who lives in Albany, doesn't have one of those scraggly, runaway beards that one might associate with jam bands or train hopping. He keeps his goatee neat and trimmed, sometimes using scissors to clip back the mustache. Yet Hanson says he got fired last month because his facial hair was deemed a violation of his company's employee appearance policy. Now, he's fighting back.Read more »

Civil Grand Jury report rips Parkmerced plan

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One week before the massive Parkmerced redevelopment project is slated to go before the Board of Supervisors for a second shot at approval, the San Francisco Civil Grand Jury has issued a scathing critique of the plan in a report titled "The Parkmerced Vision: Government-by-Developer." The assessment charges that the project's development agreement fails to guarantee adequate rent-control protections for current tenants whose homes will be razed and replaced with new units as part of the ambitious, 20-to-30 year overhaul. Read more »

Peabody coal company threatens to sue over getting punked

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Change.org, the website that allows users to create petitions for social change, received a legal threat from Peabody Energy after Coal Kills Kids (CKK) -- a group that partnered with the Yes Men to unveil a faux Peabody charity initiative earlier this week -- continued the hoax with a mock petition. Read more »

City's local power program will be greener, but not so local, at first

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The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is in negotiations with Shell Energy North America to purchase power for a new version the city's community-choice aggregation (CCA) program that will be smaller -- but greener -- than what city officials had originally envisioned. Read more »

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 »