Sarah Phelan

The next district attorney

Buried in all the hoopla over mayoral succession is another key job — and more political intrigue

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sarah@sfbg.com

By the time District Attorney Kamala Harris declared victory in the razor-close California attorney general race, two candidates had already filed to replace her. And their candidacies further complicate the delicate process of appointing a new district attorney when Harris gets sworn in Jan. 3 as the first woman and racial minority to become attorney general of California.

David Onek, a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice and a former police commissioner, filed in July and has raised $130,000 and collected 1,000 signatures.Read more »

Chiu wins holiday bake-off "most artistic" category

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The 4th annual Board of Supervisors holiday treat throw down at City Hall today featured elegant trophies, celebrity judges and fierce competition. The desserts were judged in three categories: Most Tasty, Most Festive and Most Artistic. And the judges seemed to be enjoying themselves as they sampled the goodies and decided on the awards, as the rest of us waited hungrily, dessert forks in hand Read more »

A funny thing happened on the way to the airport

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After Steve Kawa, Mayor Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff, started making noises about local hire’s impact on folks who work at San Francisco Airport, since technically it’s in Millbrae, I asked Sup. John Avalos, the legislation’s chief sponsor, to clarify this point.

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Local hire, Steve Kawa, and the Americas Cup

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Unemployed workers and community advocates hoping to secure Mayor Gavin Newsom’s support for Sup. John Avalos’ groundbreaking local hire legislation rallied at City Hall December 14 to meet with Newsom's chief of staff Steve Kawa. But Newsom and Kawa were said to be in intense negotiations over the Americas Cup bid. So, James Richards, founder of Aboriginal Blacks United, waited until Kawa could see him, along with Florence Kong of the Bayview-based Kwan Wo Ironworkers. Joshua Arce of the Brightline Defense Project, and a group of local residents.

“‘Living in the city is so expensive," Kong observed. "It’s not fair that a lot of local work is being done by workers from outside the city.”

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Hiring at home

Supervisors make history with mandatory local hire law

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sarah@sfbg.com

The lame duck Board of Supervisors made history Dec. 7 when it voted 8-3 to approve mandatory local hire legislation for city-funded construction projects. The measure ends a decade-long effort to reach 50 percent local hiring goals through good-faith efforts.

"That's a sea change in our local hiring discussion," said Sup. John Avalos, who launched the legislation in October as part of the LOCAL-SF (Local Opportunities for Communities and Labor) campaign, which seeks to strengthen local hiring, address high unemployment rates, and boost the local economy.Read more »

The true cost of local hire

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Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andy Ross are claiming it will cost $2.2 million annually to carry out Sup. John Avalos’ newly approved legislation that mandates local hire rates on city-funded construction projects,

And Human Rights Commission director Theresa Sparks is claiming it will actually cost $3 million to run the program. Read more »

Elizabeth Edwards, breast cancer and the battle for a cure

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When the news hit that Elizabeth Edwards had died at 61, I was sitting in the press box at San Francisco City Hall listening to the supervisors debate the merits of local hire legislation. In fact, I only became aware that Edwards had passed away, because Sup. Michela Alioto-Pier, who was sitting in front of me, was surfing the Internet on her laptop and I happened to see the headline. Read more »

John Lennon, whirled peas, and the British art of tea making

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Yoko Ono’s op-ed tribute to John Lennon in the New York Times today got me tearing up, as I remembered that horrible day, thirty years ago, when I heard that Lennon had been assassinated. I was in my early twenties and still living in England at the time, working in an inner-city school in Birmingham, and I remember feeling that his murder marked the death of my own generation's innocence. Read more »

Class of 2010: Malia Cohen

Can a winner who lost the first-place vote in D10 be a bridge builder?

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sarah@sfbg.com

It took two weeks and 19 updates of San Francisco's ranked-choice voting system before Malia Cohen, a former Mayor Gavin Newsom staffer and partner in a firm that helps businesses and nonprofits create public policy, was declared the winner of the hotly contested race to represent District 10, which includes Bayview, Hunters Point and Ingleside. The nail-biting time lag was a byproduct of complex calculations that involved 22 candidates, no clear front-runners, and a slew of absentee and provisional ballots.Read more »

Dufty was Avalos' eighth vote on local hire

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History was made at City Hall on December 7, when the Board voted 8-3 to approve local hire legislation for city-funded construction projects.
“This is the strongest local hiring measure in the nation, “ said Sup. John Avalos, the legislation’s chief sponsor. “It doesn’t just have a mandated 50 percent goal. It has a ‘by trade’ mandate. It requires 50 percent of apprentices to be residents. More than anything we are moving away from a good faith policy. That’s a sea change in our local hiring discussion.”
Sup. Read more »