Sarah Phelan

Assessing the deal

Labor Council makes pact with Lennar that could save the floundering Prop. G
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sarah@sfbg.com

Mayor Gavin Newsom stood with San Francisco Labor Council executive director Tim Paulson, flanked by Sup. Read more »

Promises and reality

Lennar's campaign mailers sound great, but do they paint a false picture of what voters can really expect from Prop. G?
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sarah@sfbg.com

The Lennar-financed "Yes on G" fliers jammed into mailboxes all across San Francisco this month depict a dark-skinned family strolling along a shoreline trail against a backdrop of blue sky, grassy parkland, a smattering of low-rise buildings, and the vague hint of a nearly transparent high-rise condo tower in the corner.

"After 34 years of neglect, it's time to clean up the Shipyard for tomorrow," states one flier, which promises to create up to 10,000 new homes, "with as many as 25 percent being entry-level affordable units"; 300 Read more »

Dark days

Why is it so hard to get solar power in San Francisco?
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amanda@sfbg.com

sarah@sfbg.com

Like a lot of San Franciscans, John Murphy wants to put solar panels on his roof. He's worried about the environment, but it's also about money: "I want it to pay for all my electricity," he said one recent evening as we chatted in front of his house.Read more »

Ribbons and signs

Ribbons and signs: Memories of a reluctant war mom
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sarah@sfbg.com

The hardest thing I've ever done was take my son to the airport the day he deployed to Iraq.

We set off at dawn, the hour that most dates with the Army begin, exhausted after a sleepless night in which my son packed his gear, put on his military fatigues and assumed what my daughter calls his "soldier's face," an expressionless, unnaturally calm look.

The sun rose, Led Zeppelin began to sing, Dancing days are here again / As the summer evenings grow / I got my flower / I got my power / I got my woman who knows on my car radio — and I be Read more »

Freedom of Information: Battleship metadata

Legislation on mapping software would create an expensive new category of public records
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sarah@sfbg.com

On Valentine's Day, Assemblymember Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana) introduced Assembly Bill 1978, legislation that seeks to define computer mapping systems and make them available to commercial interests at a fee — a one-two punch that freedom of information advocates fear constitutes a serious blow to the California Public Records Act.

Noting that computer mapping systems, computer programs, and computer graphic systems do not constitute public records under current law, Solorio's bill seeks to amend the CPRA to define computer mapping systems to includ Read more »

Chemicals and quarantines

San Francisco officials resist plans to use aerial spraying against a potentially damaging moth
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sarah@sfbg.com

As the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) pushes ahead with plans to aerially spray the Bay Area with pheromones to eradicate the light brown apple moth (LBAM), the San Francisco Board of Supervisors has signed onto state senator Carole Migden's efforts to ask CDFA to put a moratorium on the spraying.

"We haven't seen this level of concern and debate since the medfly days of then governor Jerry Brown," Sup. Ross Mirkarimi told the Guardian. Read more »

Where to now, SFPUC?

War of words surrounding Susan Leal's removal offers more heat than light
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sarah@sfbg.com

Months after Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his intention to get rid of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission general manager Susan Leal, his appointees on the SFPUC board finally made if official on Feb. Read more »

Solo budgeting

Gavin Newsom attacks social services and other supervisorial spending priorities with unilateral cuts
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sarah@sfbg.com

Mayor Gavin Newsom is giving his department heads until Feb. 21 to draw up a list of services and positions to be reduced and eliminated, but Board of Supervisors president Aaron Peskin notes this isn't how city government is supposed to work.

"Technically, things aren't being cut," Peskin told the Guardian. Read more »

Political football season

Battles between the mayor and the supervisors are starting early
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sarah@sfbg.com

With Mayor Gavin Newsom predicting a big budget deficit and seven Board of Supervisors seats up for grabs, everyone knew 2008 would be acrimonious.

But few suspected the war between Newsom and the supervisors would get so nasty so soon, even before the lunar Year of the Rat had officially dawned. Read more »

Delete key

Privatized campaign finance database could make it tougher to track illegal political spending
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sarah@sfbg.com

San Francisco's recent move to a new, privatized electronic campaign finance database will make it more difficult to track amendments to reports on political spending, a change that has caused a conflict between top-level staffers at the Ethics Commission.

In a Jan. Read more »