Rebecca Bowe

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 »

Dense in the west

Parkmerced redesign wins narrow Planning Commission approval


A marathon special meeting of the San Francisco Planning Commission on Feb. 10 demonstrated a clear split over Parkmerced, a $1.2 billion private development project that will rebuild an entire existing neighborhood on the west side of San Francisco.

While some expressed strong enthusiasm for moving forward with the ambitious plan, many residents turned out to voice vehement opposition, citing concerns about traffic congestion, noise, dust, and the demolition of affordable apartments that some Parkmerced tenants have occupied for decades.Read more »

Mayor Ed Lee willing to disclose work calendar


Among the many issues that rankled progressives under Mayor Gavin Newsom's administration was Newsom's unwillingness to turn over his work calendar to members of the public who formally requested it. Read more »

"Flex" keeps marine scientists guessing


I received a call last Friday from Nicole Catalano of Pacific Environment, an environmental nonprofit focusing on marine conservation. An endangered gray whale was headed for California, she told me, and I could follow its movements online. "We expect it to be in California either now, or any day now," Catalano said.

"Flex," as researchers have named him, is one of an estimated 120 western Pacific gray whales. The highly endangered species has fared much worse than the related eastern gray whale, which has an estimated population of around 20,000. Read more »

It's a sign: MUNI passsenger angst


It's raining for the first time in weeks, and you know what that means. Somewhere in San Francisco, someone is standing on an outdoor MUNI platform and wondering why those stylish, clear sloping roofs fail so miserably when it comes to keeping the rain out. And while MUNI drivers should not take the blame for this and other transit-system flaws, we cannot help but feel the pain of the passenger who vented their frustration by leaving this bombastic complaint at the T-Third 20th Street station.