Sarah Phelan

DREAM Act would reduce deficit, strengthen military...and perhaps save the world

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Last December, when the DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act came up five votes short in the Senate, advocates began to worry that this seemingly modest piece of immigration reform, which offers a pathway to citizenship for undocumented youth who do well in college and/or serve in the military would not be able to get the necessary votes, even with Barack Obama as President. Rahm Emanuel, who served as Obama’s Chief of Staff up until last October, was reportedly criticized by some for allegedly not doing enough to support immigration reform. And frustration was high, as the community was forced to petition U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) each and every time they heard that a well-performing student, with no criminal record, like Steve Li or Mandeep was about to be sent to a country that they barely knew--taking their education and knowledge of the United States with them.

But six months later, the DREAMers (undocumented students who want to serve their adopted country) are refusing to take “no” for an answer. (In December, Steve Li won a reprieve, and last week ICE decided not to deport Mandeep, who was voted in high school as "most likely to save the world." ) And now Emanuel, who was sworn in as Chicago’s mayor in May, is raising his voice in support of the DREAM Act, which Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who has been fighting for immigration reform for more than a decade, is sponsoring. And they are hoping to turn the tide and get Republicans to vote for legislation they say will reduce the deficit, build up the military and perhaps, by not deporting young U.S. trained geniuses, even save the world. Read more »

Civil Grand Jury slams shipyard development project

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“The Civil Grand Jury concludes that the Hunter’s Point Shipyard redevelopment project will require more communication, more transparency, and more commitment from the City in order to achieve its goals of providing housing, jobs and economic development, tax revenue and open spaces to San Francisco and its residents, particularly those residing in the surrounding neighborhoods.” Read more »

Radon gas is a leading cause of cancer

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Remember how we were all freaking out a few months ago about radiation, in the wake of the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan that led to releases of radioactive material from Japan’s stricken Fukushiima Daiichi nuclear plant? Well, now comes news that the leading cause of non-smoking lung cancer in the United States is radon gas, a radioactive gas that comes from the natural decay of uranium found in nearly all soils. And the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which says radon gas leads to an estimated 21,000 deaths each year, apparently wants to help you test for it in your home. Read more »

Suhr sounds open to Portland-style FBI terrorism taskforce resolution

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When the Guardian sat down with SFPD Chief Greg Suhr last week, it was shortly after the Board of Supervisors unanimously approved Julius Turman as the next Police Commissioner. Turman’s appointment means the Commission, which provides civilian oversight of SFPD’s policies and procedures, now has seven members, once again, and thus can get on with addressing important outstanding issues, including what to Read more »

Will another DREAMer be deported, despite ICE’s S-Comm reforms?

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Last week, ICE announced reforms to its controversial Secure Communities program. Civil rights advocates denounced these changes as window dressing, and the Guardian broke the news about S-Comm's importance to the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiative, which appears to be using S-Comm on undocumented folks to secure support for a fingerprint dragnet to cover a much broader segment of the population than undocumented immigrants. But now, even before folks have had a chance to fully process the potential civil liberties impacts of the FBI’s NGI’s initiative, comes word that Mandeep, a DREAM Act honors pre-med student at UC Davis, who was once voted “most likely to save the world” by her peers at Los Altos High in Mountain View, could be deported to India on Wednesday.

Read more »

Feinstein gets box of toy soldiers, as Obama prepares to announce troop draw down

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As Obama prepares to announce a troop drawdown this week, Peace Action West’s political director Rebecca Griffin delivered a box of thousands of toy soldiers, each attached to a petition for a swift withdrawal of U.S troops from Afghanistan, to Sen. Dianne Feinstein's San Francisco office on Monday afternoon. Unlike many Democratic senators, Feinstein has not publicly demanded a rapid drawdown. Read more »

Civil rights advocates say S-Comm reforms are spin, part of bigger FBI biometric tracking plan

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In face of mounting criticism nationwide, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced today changes to its Secure Communities (S-Comm) deportation program. These changes include protections for domestic violence victims, and immigrants who are pursuing legitimate civil liberties protections. Read more »

Candidates land punches in first D.A. debate

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District Attorney and former SFPD Chief George Gascón, Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Sharmin Bock, and former San Francisco Police Commissioner David Onek all landed solid punches during a three-way District Attorney debate that was co-hosted by the San Francisco Young Democrats and the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, and moderated by Recorder editor Scott Graham. The primary sponsor of the debate was the City Democratic Club, according to CDC President Jim Reilly. So, thanks CDC for helping to pull off a great event.Read more »

Altered signs and Daly’s "Let Ed Be" campaign

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So, last night I was having a drink at the Buck Tavern, aka Daly’s Dive because former Sup. Chris Daly runs the place, when I spotted this sign (see photo) behind the bar. Basically, it’s a competition ( with a $100 cash prize) to see who can best alter the Ed Lee sign that's being used in the RunEdRun Facebook campaign, and thus co-opt it into Daly’s “Let Ed Be” Facebook page campaign. Read more »

Enjoy the Strawberry full moon

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The moon looked pretty full last night, but according to my Farmer’s Almanac, it’s officially full tonight. It’s also the Strawberry full moon, so-called because the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries each year happens in June.