Taxi drivers protest rideshares as government mulls new regulations

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Car horns honked and tempers flared as around 30 taxi cabs circled around the California Public Utilities Commission yesterday [Wed/9], protesting what the cabbies call lax regulations of rideshare companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.

"They're totally unfair competition," said cab driver Jonathan Khin, a 20-year cabbie who came to San Francisco decades ago from Burma. "They don't have to pay regulations and fees that we do."

The drivers complaints over the rideshares, known legally as Transportation Network Companies, were many: the TNCs don't provide adequate insurance for drivers, don't have the number of cars regulated (like cabs are), and don't have to pay regulatory fees that cabs currently pay. This all leads to an uneven playing field, and the taxi cab industry is getting creamed.

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Crowdfunding real-estate: A tool to combat displacement or another nail in the coffin?

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A key provision in the JOBS Act, a legislative package signed into law by President Obama in April of 2012, was hailed as a huge victory for the ever-growing real estate industry, removing many of the bothersome impediments that keep it exclusively in the realm of the upper echelon.Read more »

Listen: Dylan Shearer's "Mold in the Fold"

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San Francisco songwriter Dylan Shearer has been kicking around the Bay Area since 2005, but something in his voice sounds like he just arrived here in a time machine from London in 1965. Like a less-buoyant Ray Davies (or a less-suicidal Nick Drake?) there's an impressive authentic, cozily British gloom to the California-born singer's work.Read more »

Airbnb comes clean with San Francisco

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Airbnb came clean this evening, sending out new terms of service drafted April 7 that customers must agree to before conducting further business starting April 30. Read more »

Avalos: Should SFPD officers wear body mounted cameras?

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The fatal shooting of Alejandro Nieto, a man who possessed a Taser that was mistaken for a firearm who was killed in Bernal Heights Park, produced a backlash of community anger toward the San Francisco Police Department. It was the first thing Sup. John Avalos mentioned when he called for a hearing on equipping officers with body-mounted video cameras at the April 8 Board of Supervisors meeting.Read more »

Insurance Commissioner to CPUC: Tech "rideshare" companies must provide insurance

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Rideshare companies must provide their drivers with insurance. That was the gist of a public letter released today from the California Insurance Commission, addressed to the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates transportation network companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar.Read more »

Report details how brown and black communities are decimated, step by step

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Gentrification is a word so oft-used in conversations about San Francisco that it's easy to forget what it means.

A report released yesterday by the advocacy group Causa Justa/Just Cause titled "Development Without Displacement" breaks down gentrification into a set of digestible, understandable policy decisions, while identifying which communities even now are still at risk of displacement.Read more »

Leno's Ellis Act reform bill clears first legislative hurdle

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Sen. Mark Leno’s Senate Bill 1439 — which would protect rent-controlled housing in San Francisco by amending the Ellis Act, including making property owners wait at least five years after buying a property to evict tenants under the act — cleared its first legislative hurdle today.

The Senate Transportation and Housing Committee passed the measure on a 6-4 vote, and it heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee next. The bill has strong support in San Francisco, from progressive constituencies through Mayor Ed Lee to support by leaders in the business community and tech world.Read more »

Kanye and the Heartbreakers? The Outside Lands lineup is here

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Well that's...an interesting bunch. Another Planet Entertainment just announced the lineup for Outside Lands, set for Aug. 8 through 10 this year in Golden Gate Park (as per usual). Read more »

tUnE-yArDs Tuesday

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Oh, Merrill Garbus. Remember the days when the endearingly weird, weirdly endearing, predictably unpredictable tUnE-yArDs felt like an open Oakland secret, an East Bay girl (by way of the East Coast) who slowly but surely started to outgrow us?Read more »

Immigration reform protest snarls downtown SF, 23 arrested

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Today [Fri/4] at 11am, the SF Bay Coalition for Immigrant Justice held a protest and rally to urge President Obama to halt all deportations and keep his promise of comprehensive immigration reform.The protest included a group of 23 people, some of which are undocumented immigrants, which took part in a peaceful act of civil disobedience.Read more »

A Canola oil fire, maybe?

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jeff tweedy

Dear every single white, middle-class, 20-something alt-folk musician in SF:
Did you happen to catch Wilco's Jeff Tweedy on Portlandia last night? No? Read more »

Yee and others indicted by federal grand jury, reinforcing criminal complaint

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A federal grand jury has indicted Sen. Leland Yee and 28 others on charges similar to those issued in the bombshell criminal complaint by the FBI last week, the Sacramento Bee is reporting. The indictment named three additional defendants who weren’t in the original complaint: Barry Blackwell House (aka Barry Black), Zhanghao Wu, and Ton Zao Zhang.Read more »

Q&A: Punk veteran Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham

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After more than 20 years of playing an important role in the formation and evolution of a variety of bands including the Cadillac Tramps, Youth Brigade, U.S. Bombs and Social Distortion, Jonny "Two Bags" Wickersham is finally stepping into the spotlight on his own with his first solo record, the excellent Salvation Town, (Isotone Records/Thirty Tigers) which hit stores earlier this week.Read more »

This is 911, please hold

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The contentious tax breaks given to tech companies in San Francisco are under fire once again, as emergency dispatchers protested crippling budget shortages yesterday (Wed/2) in front of the Department of Emergency Management.

With sweeping budget cuts across all public sectors over the past few years, everyone is clamoring for more money wherever they can get it. But these protesters, organized by SEIU Local 1021, made some pretty compelling arguments for being prioritized.Read more »