(Scroll down for a personal note from Dick Meister)
March 31st is a special day in eleven states, including California, and in dozens of cities and counties nationwide-- and should be. It's Cesar Chavez Day, honoring the late founder of the United Farm Workers union on the 83rd anniversary of his birth.
Certainly there are few people in any field more deserving of such an honor, certainly no one I've met in more than 50 years of labor reporting.
I first met Cesar Chavez when I was reporting on labor for the SF Chronicle. It was a hot summer night in 1965 in the little San Joaquin Valley town of Delano, California. Chavez, shining black hair trailing across his smooth brown forehead, wearing a red plaid shirt that had become almost a uniform, sat behind a makeshift desk topped with bright red Formica, deadly serious but quick to smile. Read more »
Cardinal William Levada, former archbishop of San Francisco Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco, has penned a caustic response to recent New York Times articles and editorials that were critical of how the church and Pope Benedict XVI have handled sexual abuse cases involving priests over the years, calling the coverage “deficient by any reasonable standards of fairness Read more »
Marriage, jobs, cars— ten years can be a stretch for a lot of things in our world, but the hip-hop created by Zion I is still fresh after a decade, the signs of wear and tear only showing on the albums themselves. Producer AmpLive and emcee Zumbi make up the Bay Area duo—playing Thurs/1 at the Rickshaw Stop and Fri/2 at the Independent— who have just returned from a 35-city tour around the country. Zumbi says they’re officially “ready to vibe with the hometown crowd.”
Editors note: Guardian correspondent John Ross is traveling across the nation pomoting his new book, El Monstruo -- Dread & Redemption in Mexico City, and is sending us dispatches from the road. This week: Twin Cities, Madison and Northern Michigan.
1. BLUE IGLOO
As I deplaned the Southwest Shuttle from Denver wrapped in my blue igloo, a puffed up garment that doubles my skeletal girth, a sudden spasm of panic punched me in the gut. Had I slept through my stop and disembarked in Fargo, North Dakota instead? Read more »
The screaming, banging, clanging, and screeching I can handle for a couple minutes, but the big, bloody, rodent costumes? No way. Pretty sure I’m a masklophobe, meaning I’m already totally creeped out by people dressed up in oversized, animal and mascot costumes, even if they’re smiling and semi-cute. The grindcore metal-heads, The White Mice—playing Wed/31 at 21 Grand— take it to an all-new low with their chosen stage attire, beyond the crypt and into a the most terrifying science lab possible.
It's sunny at the moment in SF, but Guardian faves Foals bring a glowing, dark Nordic vibe in their latest video "Spanish Sahara" -- hirsute cutie singer Yannis Philippakis' tears and all. Second album Total Life Forever comes out May 11.
Ways to have fun while giving back this week Wednesday, March 31
Wet Wednesday Party for a great cause at this benefit for the Edgewood Center for Children and Families, a center that provides services for children, teens, and families. Enjoy free food, music by DJ Paul, a raffle for a $450 gift certificate to Las Olas Surfboards and other prizes, and Sierra Nevada beer who will donate $1 for every pint sold. 8 p.m., free Riptide Cocktails 3639 Taraval, SF Read more »
Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week Wednesday, March 31
Vito Acconci Hear writer/visual artist turned designer and architect, Vito Acconci, talk about “Words/Action/Architecture,” where he will discuss recent and upcoming projects of Acconci Studio like an artificial island in Graz, an elevated subway station in Coney Island, and a street that runs through a building in Indianapolis. 7:30 p.m., free Mills College Lisser Theater 5000 MacArthur, Oak. (510) 430-2164
Dee Dee. Jules. Bambi. Frankie Rose. Their names would be perfect for the pole and dollar-bill dances, but the only stage these four L.A. ladies take on is one with a mic. Together they are The Dum Dum Girls and today these bad-ass babes put out their first full-length record, I Will Be. Primarily dirty garage-pop with a shot of girl-group charm, the Dum Dum's combination of sweet and ratty comes off with a second-wave feminist punch. Hot harmonies, lo-fi fuzz, sexy black outfits, and sassy melodies that stick like bubblegum.
Last Gasp, San Francisco’s landmark independent and underground publisher, is turning 40. To celebrate this feat – in four decades, Last Gasp has spawned more than 300 comics and 250 books – it is throwing a party and an art show Thurs/April 1 at 111 Minna Gallery. Read more »
I heard a great show on NPR the other day about the new rules on compensation for executives whose banks got federal bailout money. The feds have cracked down (a bit), and some of those massive salaries have been cut and top bankers are now accepting much less pay, and stock that can't be sold for three years.
And guess what: More than 80 percent of these people are still hard at work at their desks, including almost all of the most senior folks. Very few have left. It puts the lie to this notion that extreme salaries are needed to attract and retail the top talent; even after those salaries have been cut by more than half, the "talent" doesn't flee.
There's a new study by the California Budget Project (PDF) that says makes the same kinds of points. Jean Ross, the director of the nonprofit, nonpartisan group, says that urban legends die hard, so she's chosen the top ten myths about the state budget and demonstrated how utterly inaccurate they are. Read more »
If the mayor and his handpicked PUC director, Ed Harrington, and his handpicked commissioners dawdle and delay, they'll be giving a corrupt private utility exactly what it wants
EDITORIAL San Francisco has been talking about creating a community-choice aggregation system to sell cleaner electricity for five years now. There have been hearings, studies, debates, discussions, and negotiations. And now it's coming down to the wire: to avoid the prospect of a Pacific Gas and Electric Company initiative on the June ballot that cuts the city's effort off at the knees, San Francisco officials need to get CCA up and running before June 8.
But the mayor and the Public Utilities Commission don't seem to have any sense of urgency. And the slow pace of negotiations with the contractor that would handle the electricity purchases is playing right into PG&E's hands. If the mayor and his handpicked PUC director, Ed Harrington, and his handpicked commissioners dawdle and delay, they'll be giving the corrupt private utility exactly what it wants.
Sen. Leland Yee scored a two-fer yesterday when he blasted a California State University organization for hiding how much it’s playing Sarah Palin for a speaking gig, raising an important sunshine issue and knocking Palin’s populism-for-pay schtick in the process. And at the heart of the issue is how public education institutions increasingly use foundations to avoid accountability.Read more »
It doesn’t take a Ph.D. to understand that people who earn less shell out a greater percentage of their income from month to month than those occupying more elite ranks. Anyone fortunate enough to be holding down even a low-paying gig in a state where unemployment stands at 12.5 percent knows that basic living expenses can quickly consume a paycheck in San Francisco.
A study released by the Center for Labor and Research Education at the University of California at Berkeley has found that cutting relatively low-paying jobs in the state’s health and human services sector would deal a harsher blow to California’s financial health than alternative budget-balancing measures, like raising taxes on the wealthiest residents. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed cutting $6.4 billion from California’s health and human services budget, part of his solution for closing a roughly $20 billion budget gap.
“The budget proposals that the governor is making would … significantly worsen the economic crisis in the state, rather than pull us out,” said Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center at UC Berkeley. Read more »
It was the first time I traveled by myself. I was exploring Boston, meandering along the red line that winds its way from one historical site to another, while the discman in my purse blasted Air. The red line (aka The Freedom Trail) ends at Bunker Hill. The sun was brilliant on that June day and I lay in the grass, squinting up at the clouds. Cherry Blossom Girl started playing. I watched a little girl do somersaults in the grass and dance. Her tumbles were in perfect time with the soft rhythm of the song. The little girl was pure joyfulness. She found a feather in the grass and for some reason brought it over to me and said "This is for you." Then her dad called to her, telling her it was time to go home.