Sarah Phelan

CA Senate committee approves TRUST Act in face of rising "S-Comm" concerns

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The California Senate Public Safety Committee approved Assemblymember Tom Ammiano’s TRUST Act, (AB 1081) today in a 5-2 vote, in face of rising concerns about a troubled federal fingerprinting and deportation program known as Secure Communities (S-Comm). The TRUST Act would reform California's participation in S-Comm, which has increasingly come under fire for undermining public safety and operating without transparency or local oversight. Read more »

Groupon's secret

Are misleading online ads the secret to Groupon's success? And is Google implicated?

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sarah@sfbg.com

A San Francisco-based bus tour operator who relies on the Internet to drum up business has filed a class action suit against Groupon, alleging that the deal-of-the-day website uses false advertising, or bait-and-switch tactics, to get customers to its site.Read more »

If they can’t draft Ed Lee, can they write him in?

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Courtroom Connect President and former Goldman Sachs employee Michael Breyer sent out an email today, in which he stated that hundreds of San Franciscans are calling for Ed Lee to run for Mayor in November.  Read more »

High levels of strontium at Fukushima

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More bad news for Japan and its stricken fishing industry: Tokyo Electric Power Company says radioactive strontium up to 240 times the legal concentration limit has been detected in seawater samples near an intake at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Read more »

Pelosi says S-Comm is a waste of taxpayer dollars

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House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the fed’s troubled “Secure Communities” program a waste of money, as members of Congress held a press conference in Los Angeles to call for a suspension of the program. Illinois, New York and Massachusetts have already announced their withdrawal from S-Comm, following numerous reports that the program has led to non-criminal immigrants and even victims of domestic violence being caught up in the fed’s deportation dragnet, resulting in a chilling effect on community-police relations. Read more »

Campos plans to plug loophole in SF health care law

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Back in 2006, when Tom Ammiano was a supervisor, the Board approved his trailblazing San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance (HCSO).  But the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which presumably prefers you get served by folks who don’t have health insurance (“Waiter, there’s a booger in my soup!”) sued the city over the program. GRRA was hoping to invalidate the employer spending requirements of the City's ordinance on the grounds that it violated the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act. And in its quest, GGRA, which represents restaurants statewide and was concerned that Ammiano’s citywide legislation would spread to other municipalities, tried to take its case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. But in June 2010, the "Supremes" denied review to GGRA’s legal challenge, ending a contentious four-year legal battle over "Healthy San Francisco." Or so everybody thought.But according to Sup. David Campos, who succeeded Ammiano as D9 supervisor and champion of the city’s health care legislation, some employers have been exploiting a loophole in the HCSo legislation to avoid their obligations under the law. And Campos now plans to stick a cork in this loophole. Read more »

Tipping point

Battle for a Police Commission appointment reflects ongoing problems in the department

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sarah@sfbg.com

On June 14, members of the Board of Supervisors will vote to appoint a new member of the Police Commission — in the wake of a messy string of alleged police misconduct scandals that, progressives argue, underscore why having strong civilian oversight is critical to ensuring a transparent, accountable police department the public can trust.Read more »

Behind the all-smiles budget

Mayor Lee's budget stops the bleeding — but doesn't repair the damage

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news@sfbg.com

When Mayor Ed Lee released his 2011-12 budget proposal June 1, all was sweetness and light at City Hall.

The mayor delivered the document in person, to the supervisors, in the board chambers. Sup. Carmen Chu, chair of the Budget Committee, was standing to the mayor's right. Board President David Chiu was to his left. There was none of the imperious attitude we'd come to expect in the Gavin Newsom era — and little of the typical hostility from the board.Read more »

Hall blasts Treasure Island deal

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Mayoral candidate Tony Hall, who also happens to be a former executive director of the Treasure Island Development Authority, just blasted Mayor Ed Lee's endorsement of the Treasure Island deal:Read more »

How Recology will attack the garbage initiative

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We got an interesting call June 5 from a polling company. These folks typically ask if any member of the household works for the news media, and we have to figure out whether to lie and hear the questions or tell the truth and save 20 minutes. This time, the caller didn’t bother. So we agreed to answer “a few questions about the upcoming mayor’s race.”Read more »