Rebecca Bowe

Newsom's budget includes a few ideas "Supervisors can't stand"

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City department heads, members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, representatives from major news outlets, and others crowded into the Luggage Store Art Gallery at 6th and Market streets on June 1 to hear Mayor Gavin Newsom discuss his proposed 2010-2011 budget.

Colorful artwork, such as a collage fashioned from cereal boxes, adorned the walls, and Newsom said he’d selected the venue to emphasize his commitment to improving the blighted mid-Market area.

Newsom’s $6.48 billion budget is being put forth in the face of a roughly $480 million deficit, which places the city in a similar financial situation to last year, when the mayor’s budget proposal sparked an outcry from progressive supervisors and a wide array of advocacy organizations for its deep blows to public health programs and critical services.

At first glance, the Department of Public Health seems to have fared better this time around, as a partial result of outside funding through federal programs. However, Newsom proposed slashing $22 million from DPH, compared with a total department budget of approximately $1.4 billion.

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Triumph of tenacity

The Lembi empire teeters after tenants resisted a business plan based on forcing them out
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rebeccab@sfbg.com

Nearly four years after City Attorney Dennis Herrera filed suit against Frank and Walter Lembi and their dizzying array of companies affiliated with CitiApartments for "an outrageous pattern of corporate lawlessness," the powerful and notorious San Francisco landlords have watched their empire crumble.Read more »

Beating the reaper

S.F.'s clean energy program clears a key milestone in its race against Prop. 16

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

The wholesome-looking woman in the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.-funded Yes on Proposition 16 commercial seems trustworthy. "Voters should have the final say," she intones over a background of soothing music, "because we're paying the bills." Read more »

Who's fighting PG&E on Prop 16?

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All week, I've been talking to people who are getting together to oppose Prop. 16, the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.-bankrolled ballot measure that seeks to kill community choice aggregation by launching a deceptive, $35 million campaign to alter the state constitution by requiring a two-thirds vote before local government could move forward with an alternative energy program. Read more »

May 20: Take Back the Mic

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Tomorrow evening’s kickoff event to Take Back the Mic marks the start of a nationwide community media campaign with music, storytelling, and interactive new media at the Ashkenaz in Berkeley. Read more »

Drills, baby, drills

Preparing for an oil spill requires staying in practice and investing in prevention

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

The disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico should be viewed as a wakeup call for the San Francisco Bay Area, Pacific Environment's Jackie Dragon noted at a May 11 forum on oil spill preparedness and prevention.Read more »

Films shed light on Prop 16, but lack funding for prime time

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The No on Prop 16 campaign is fighting back against Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s advertising blitzkrieg for Proposition 16, the anti-democratic ballot initiative it has bankrolled to secure its monopoly in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read more »

Street stars

Streets of San Francisco: Writers, dancers, and other performers do make a living on the sidewalks

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rebeccab@sfbg.com

A few crafty, courageous souls have learned to live off of San Francisco's streets, supporting themselves with tips from random strangers at high-traffic destinations.Read more »

Chiu moves to reject Muni budget

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At the May 4 Board of Supervisors meeting, Board President David Chiu introduced a motion to reject the Municipal Transportation Agency budget, approved by the MTA Board on April 20.

Noting the deep service cuts that are scheduled to inflict the city’s public transportation system on Saturday, May 8, Chiu said riders could expect “longer wait times, more crowding, and people being passed up by full trains.” Read more »

Spotted today at City Hall

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That's right, folks, this "Stand Against Sit/ Lie" sticker was slapped onto a fire extinguisher locked inside a glass case in the City Hall corridor just outside the Board of Supervisors' Chambers. Obviously, the message this totally badass sit/lie critic is trying to get across is that it's possible to oppose sit/lie and still care about public safety. The proposed law to ban sitting or lying down on the sidewalk, which has triggered a smoldering citywide debate, is slated to go before the Public Safety Committee on Monday, May 10.