City Hall sources tell us that Mayor Gavin Newsom has named Controller Ed Harrington as the new director of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, his former budget director Ben Rosenfield as the new controller, and close confidante Mike Farrah at head of the Office of Neighborhood Services, although Newsom's spokespersons have not yet confirmed the news. Read more »
Early results from the Iowa caucus -- the first presidential poll that counts -- show a tight pack, with Edwards leading, trailed closely by Clinton and Obama. It's virtually a three-way tie and it could stay that way because nobody else really has any votes, so the Iowa provision of voters whose candidates get less than 15 percent of the vote getting to revote won't matter much.
BTW, local Obama supporters are gathering in a few minutes over at Tosca in North Beach, so head on over if he's your guy and you're looking for kindred spirits.
GREEN CITY Two years ago Tom Price called me from the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast. We didn't know each other, but he'd read some of my articles about Burning Man, including "Epilogue as Prologue" (10/4/2005), which culminated my seven-part series by looking at how burners were projecting their culture, skills, and ethos into the outside world.
The most obvious example I used was the group that went straight from Burning Man 2005 to Mississippi to help clean up after Hurricane Katrina, which hit during the event. Read more »
San Francisco city lawyers head back to court in the morning, trying to persuade the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to set aside last week's court ruling that the city can't require employers to help pay for Healthy San Francisco. It's disgraceful that the Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged the employer mandate on this innovative plan to provide universal access to health care, the product of a compromise between Sup. Read more »
The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition has abandoned plans for a June ballot measure that would approve some bicycle projects and bypass the court injunction that is blocking all bike system improvements until 2009 at the earliest. SFBC director Leah Shahum tells us the group had been working hard on the ballot measure, enjoying good political support and doing a poll that showed wide public support. "But it started to look uglier and uglier from a legal perspective," she said. Read more »
The California High Speed Rail Authority will convene tomorrow in Sacramento and could decide on the system's Bay Area track alignment, but Chairman Quentin Kopp tells the Guardian that they probably won't be able to make that crucial decision yet. Read more »
By Iris Tablas-Mejia
It’s that time of year again! Dust off your red and white apparel ‘cause a fleet of debauched Santas will be running amok through San Francisco again on Saturday, Dec. 15, spreading their unconventional holiday cheer to bars, city landmarks, jaded locals, and unsuspecting tourists starting at 10 a.m. at the Pier 39 carousel. Read more »
Environmental studies on the San Francisco Bicycle Plan have been delayed for almost a year, pushing back the city's earliest opportunity to lift a court-imposed injunction against improvements to the system covering everything mentioned in the plan, from new bike lanes to simple sidewalk racks to summer 2009.
Bicycle advocates and some members of the Board of Supervisors are calling the bureaucratic delays unacceptable, and they're actively exploring ways to speed things up. Read more »