Sarah Phelan

Dystopian enterprise

Richard North Patterson on Eclipse and the legacy of Ken Saro-Wiwa
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Best-selling author Richard North Patterson stays out of the local limelight, but he's a San Francisco resident — and we caught up with him May 21st to talk about his new book, Eclipse, and the role that U.S. oil companies play in Nigeria.

Before Nigerian environmental activist (and Goldman Environmental Prize winner) Ken Saro-Wiwa was hanged in 1995, PEN, the international writers' group, wrote letters and organized protests against the execution. "I was very impressed by Saro-Wiwa," says Patterson, who was on the board of PEN at the time. Read more »

ChevWrong

Chevron earns record profits -- but isn't reporting the inhuman costs of its global enterprise
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news@sfbg.com

When Chevron Corp. holds its annual shareholders meeting at its San Ramon headquarters May 27, its top executives are expected to give investors a glowing report on how this global enterprise came to rake in a profit of $23.9 billion last year — a staggering 28.1 percent increase over the past year.

As Chevron CEO Dave O'Reilly put it in the company's annual report, 2008 was "a momentous year." Apparently O'Reilly will also claim that his company's activities are improving people's lot worldwide. Read more »

Crash landings

Is the new wave of war veterans getting the help it needs?
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news@sfbg.com

As the U.S. military wrestles with President Barack Obama's plan to expand the war in Afghanistan while reducing its presence in Iraq, there's a mounting cost on the home front for the 1.9 million soldiers who have been deployed to those conflicts and are now beginning the often difficult transition back to civilian life.

Inadequate stateside mental health and other veterans' services has been serious problem for years (see "Soldier's heart, 12/22/04). A report in January 2008 by the RAND Corp. Read more »

Saving the southeast

Foreclosure wave speeds SF's black exodus while city officials focus on new condo construction
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sarah@sfbg.com

foreclosures0509.jpg
This map of all foreclosures in San Francisco shows a heavy concentration in the southern part of the city, home to many low-income communities of color.

When Mayor Gavin Newsom and Sup. Read more »

Going nuclear

Legislators demand better cleanup plans for a radioactive shipyard dump
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news@sfbg.com

April Fool's Day is known as a day for practical jokes designed to embarrass the gullible.

But Assembly Member Tom Ammiano's legislative aide Quentin Mecke says the April 1 letter that Ammiano and fellow Assembly Members Fiona Ma and state Sen. Read more »

Shades of green

The Green Issue: Will SF really use its federal 'green jobs' money to lift up working class communities?
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sarah@sfbg.com

When President Barack Obama signed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act in mid-February, folks across the country were hopeful that the $787 billion stimulus package would help preserve and create decent jobs in their communities.

And in mid-March, when the Obama administration announced that Bay Area social justice activist Van Jones was joining the White House Council on Environmental Quality, advocates for green jobs took it as a sign that Obama shares Jones' belief that we can fix our nation's two biggest problems — excessive greenhouse gas production and Read more »

The budget mysteries

Newsom promises deep cuts -- but where?
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sarah@sfbg.com

San Francisco's top budget advisors are predicting that dollars from President Obama's stimulus package will help reinvigorate the economy over the next three years. Read more »

Green-collar heat

Low-income community groups hope to turn Obama's stimulus package into an opportunity to make local government accountable for creating decent green-collar jobs.
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sarah@sfbg.com

GREEN CITY Local residents, workers, and businesses are anxious to learn who and what will be stimulated by the billions of dollars that President Barack Obama authorized for release when he signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Since January 2008, unemployment in the Bay Area has risen from 4.9 percent to 8.4 percent, according to the U.S. Read more »

Monopoly money

As the ax falls at the Chronicle, observers ponder whether a MediaNews cure could be worse than the disease
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sarah@sfbg.com

Employees at the San Francisco Chronicle are anxiously awaiting the March 31 deadline that its owner the Hearst Corp. has set for accepting buyout offers, after which the ax could fall on any employee at any time. Read more »

Opening up

President Obama supports more sunshine, but advocates await the important details
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sarah@sfbg.com

Shortly after his election in November 2008, President Barack Obama received a letter from Public Citizen and 59 other nonprofit groups noting that the public's access to information about the government had been shut down under President George W. Read more »