Rebecca Bowe

Holiday blues

Newsom defies board's vote to restore public-health worker salaries
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rebeccab@sfbg.com

Ethea Farahkhan lost her city job Nov. 29, when a round of city layoffs impacting front-line workers took effect.
Farahkhan, a woman of color who was an administrative assistant at San Francisco's Department of Children, Youth and their Families, said she would have a job if it weren’t for Mayor Gavin Newsom’s decision not to spend money approved by the Board of Supervisors to save people from job losses during the holiday season. Read more »

Poll showed SF voters had favorable attitude toward new revenue measures

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By Rebecca Bowe

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Would you pay five cents more for this if it was going to fund local health care services?

So the city of San Francisco is staring down a $522 million deficit for next year. Does this mean local elected officials are seriously exploring options for new revenue measures? Read more »

Sunshine heroes: Call for nominations!

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By Rebecca Bowe

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Not every bright star who snags a James Madison Freedom of Information Award is a superstar investigative journalist. The annual contest, administered by the Northern California Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, honors citizens and journalists alike who’ve exercised their right to obtain public documents and used the information to produce stellar work. Read more »

Newsom's Shakespearean indifference

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By Rebecca Bowe

Here’s what Mayor Gavin Newsom told the Chronicle after yesterday’s 8-3 vote by the Board of Supervisors to temporarily save city workers from the bitter sting of job loss during the holiday season:

"As mayor, I don't have to spend the money, so this is much ado about nothing."

He also said the Supes who voted to allocate less than $1.9 million to temporarily preserve the jobs -- representing approximately three hundredths of one percent of the city’s to Read more »

Should taxpayers subsidize desalination?

Green City: Poseidon Resources may help the drought, but at what cost?
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rebeccab@sfbg.com

GREEN CITY Should the state of California hand over a multimillion dollar tax break to a company that is poised to build the largest desalination facility on the continent, just north of San Diego? Read more »

Supes vote to suspend public health layoffs for two months

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By Rebecca Bowe

Department of Public Health employees who are affected by budget cuts have reason to breathe a temporary sigh of relief after today's Board of Supervisors meeting. Eight supervisors, the two-thirds majority needed to pass the item, voted to spend roughly $1.8 million in the Department of Public Health to push back pending layoffs until the end of January. Sup. David Campos suggested the compromise move, emphasizing that job loss is particularly bitter when it strikes during the holiday season.

Although the supervisors -- excluding Sups. Read more »

Supes to vote on restoring DPH cuts (again)

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By Rebecca Bowe

This afternoon, a special meeting of the Budget & Finance Committee will be held to determine whether to take roughly $8 million out of the Department of Public Health reserve -- money that’s already spoken for, but that some Supervisors say will be replenished before the next budget cycle -- in order to stave off layoffs and salary cuts to front-line city workers in the Department of Public Health. Read more »

DPH Budget Cuts: The saga continues

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By Rebecca Bowe

The ongoing saga of budget cuts affecting a majority of people of color and women in the city’s Department of Public Health took yet another twist this afternoon.

For now, the Budget & Finance Committee has voted to restore the cuts, but it won’t be heard by the full Board of Supervisors until next Tuesday, when eight votes will still be needed to pass the $8 million supplemental appropriation. Meanwhile, in the wake of the city controller’s dramatic pronouncement yesterday that the Board wasn’t allowed to take anything out of the General Fund reserve, Sup. Read more »

Inside the mayor's office with SEIU Local 1021

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By Rebecca Bowe

Yesterday, around 4 p.m., 22 union members rushed into the mayor’s office (the plush reception area on the other side of those stately double doors) and demanded to meet with Mayor Gavin Newsom. Immediately blocked by security from continuing all the way to the mayor, they vowed to wait -- and remained there for about two hours. Read more »

PG&E news roundup: Discounts for energy hogs, new power plants in poor communities, and the CEO’s incredible expanding pension

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By Rebecca Bowe

A couple of news items related to California’s most powerful utility company caught our attention this week.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is planning to raise electricity rates for the customers who use less -- in order to slash costs for big-time energy hogs, Mission Local reported this morning.

In an application filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) on Oct. Read more »