I got an email today from Moveon.org advising me, “There's a huge event happening this weekend at a beach near you.” “In the wake of the giant BP oil spill in the Gulf, tens of thousands of people are getting together on beaches around the world for a massive event called "Hands Across The Sand,” the moveon.org folks said. Read more »
Watching Celebration at Big Sur, the film that documents the 1969 Big Sur Folk Festival, I witness the crystalline Pacific Ocean, members of the audience freaking out in face paint, and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell and more singing merry tunes about coming together and putting a lil' love in your heart. Read more »
“Museums are, historically, piles of loots with a roof on them,” says Kim Shuck as she carefully beads a black raven onto the back of a pow-wow vest in the de Young's Kimball education gallery. I go to touch her intricate stitching, then draw my hand back. Shuck is telling me about her work's cultural significance, the struggle of the Native American community to coexist with the white art world. Am I really about to manhandle her sacred creation? “I appreciate your impulse to touch, and then not be sure if you can,” she says laughing, as she grants her approval for me to poke and prod the curving lines of tiny beads. Moments like these are what her current project's about – exposing folks to indigenous art, and teaching them the limits and guidelines to their interaction with it. Read more »
There's nothing terribly new about this data, but it's still worth a look. Guess who pays most of the taxes in California? The Democratic counties whose legislators don't mind raising revenue to solve the budget crisis. And guess who gets the greatest share of that tax money? The counties dominated by Republicans, who want to cut services and keep taxes low.Read more »
EDITORIAL Sup. John Avalos, who chairs the Budget Committee, is looking for ways to bring another $100 million into the city's coffers this year. There's a hotel tax initiative headed for the fall ballot. He's talking about an increase in the real-estate transfer tax for high-end properties. And he and his colleagues are looking into a tax on commercial rents.
Those are all valid ideas. But there's another way the city can bring in as much as $50 million more a year — without raising anyone's taxes. It just involves increasing the franchise fee Pacific Gas and Electric Co. pays to the city.
PG&E uses the city's streets and rights-of-way to run its gas lines and electricity cables; the company doesn't pay rent for that space. Instead, it pays an annual franchise fee to the city, a percentage of its gross sales. Other utilities pay, too — Comcast, for example, pays 5 percent of its gross to San Francisco every year for its cable-TV franchise.
PG&E pays 0.05 percent for electricity sales, and 1 percent for natural gas.
That deal was reached in 1939. The Board of Supervisors back then gave PG&E the lowest franchise fee in California, a pittance, a fraction of what other cities and counties charge — and the contract has no expiration date. It's a perpetual deal, something highly unusual.
BEACH FOSSILS Beach Fossils (Captured Tracks) Your pretty guitar — or in Beach Fossils' case, your gorgeous guitars. Lyrics and vocals are virtually beside the point, considering how poetic the guitar sounds are on these songs. Beach Fossils is well-listened enough to admire McCarthy and the Go Team. On "Youth" and "Wide Awake," the group comes up with something deeply emotive. You have to make the jump and join me on the other side to find out. Read more »
Born in Ethiopia and raised in the U.S., songstress Meklit Hadero's musical endeavors span latitudes and genres. But there's also a timeless quality to her warmth and soulfulness that's reminiscent of archetypes like Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. A former director of the Mission's Red Poppy Art House, her recent debut album On A Day Like This was heavily influenced by her experiences as an integral part of the Mission scene. Read more »
A day after bicyclists and pedestrians took over the streets of the Mission for the popular, incident-free Sunday Streets, and a day before the court hearing on whether to end the four-year-old injunction against bike-related projects in San Francisco, Judge Peter Busch today (6/21) issued a noncommital tentative ruling in the case, indicating he needs a hearing on myriad technical details to reach a decision.Read more »