Marcus Books can stay if it can raise $1 million

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Marcus Book Store continues to be threatened with the loss of its Fillmore Street location – but if an ambitious community-based campaign can succeed in raising $1 million by Feb. 28, the institution will be able to remain where it is for the foreseeable future.Read more »

How watching paint dry could help San Francisco cyclists

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San Francisco and its transit agency have lofty goals. Half of all trips made in San Francisco by 2018 will be by modes other than cars, and 20 percent of vehicle trips will be by bike in 2020, if the city has its way.

One major obstacle to both of those goals is paint. Yeah, the gooey stuff. 

Sup. Eric Mar convened a hearing on bike expansion strategy today, exploring a newly released report he requested from the budget analyst which outlines the (bike) path to a more fixie-friendly San Francisco.  

The report outlined obstacles to expanding bicycle use in the city and gave many recommendations on raising funds, but one of the lowlights was a series of backlogs in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s Traffic Paint Shop, which paints bike lanes and sharrow signs on pavement across the city.

The problem is, the bike lanes aren’t getting painted. At least not all of them.

“I felt, with bike advocates and others, pissed off,” Mar said, of the lack of progress on bike safety implementation in the city. “This hearing is coming from much of those frustrations.” Read more »

No poetry or magic in being a robot

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I felt yesterday like I had been scooped after reading Jennifer Maerz’s post in the Bold Italic, which asked: Is Talking About High Rents So Often Crippling Our City?

She linked to the blog of “robotics genius” Kal Spelletich, who is a friend of mine. We’ve been getting into heated discussions on this very topic for months. Kal makes fantastical interactive machines that do things like spit fire, harness random mechanical motion to produce musical notes on a piano or a violin, or engulf you in an aromatic bundle of fennel, just for an instant. His creations are robots.

I spent a bit of time in his studio, a giant waterfront warehouse in the southeastern part of the city where strange, sharp-edged contraptions hang from the ceilings. I shared stories about the articles I was writing, increasingly on evictions and the dearth of affordable housing in San Francisco. But as we dissected the problem, Kal rejected what he saw as a narrative of desperation that has been formulated in response to the city's affordable housing crisis.

Read more »

How the Bay Area is celebrating #GivingTuesday

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Today (Tue/3) people are switching gears from the consumer madness of Black Friday, the shopping kickoff of the holiday season.

Dec. 3 marks the second annual #GivingTuesday, created to encourage generosity in support of positive change rather than materialistic consumerism.

According to this website, the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, was the catalyst and incubator for the #GivingTuesday initiative, billed as “a new day for giving back.”Read more »

Unions suing BART board over contract disagreement today, no strike yet

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Two of BART's largest unions will announce a lawsuit against the BART board of directors today on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Court at 11am, which they plan to file shortly before the press conference.

The suit will directly challenge the board's Nov. 21 decision to ratify a contract between the unions and BART management without a hotly contested provision on family leave.

In their announcement of the suit, SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555 allege the board made "illegitimate and unprecedented actions" in ratifying the contract while removing a section on family leave, which was signed off on by BART management in July. Under the provision, workers who go on leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would be paid for six of the 12 weeks the law allows them to take unpaid. 

Management has since called signing off on family leave a "mistake," and the board asked all sides to ratify a contract without the provision, hence the lawsuit.

But would a lawsuit mean a new strike? Read more »

Albany Bulb dwellers speak out on temporary shelter arrangement

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The ongoing eviction saga at the Albany Bulb, which the Guardian has covered extensively in recent weeks, previously hinged on a debate around conflicting ideas over what was considered appropriate use for a waterfront park.Read more »

Mantra from the Milk/Moscone memorial march: "Fight back!"

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Hundreds of activists and progressive San Franciscans marked the 35th anniversary of the Mayor George Moscone and Sup. Harvey Milk assassinations on Wednesday night in the Castro with fiery speeches urging the crowd to “fight back!” against displacement and gentrification, conjuring the words and spirit of those slain leftist leaders.Read more »

Port of Oakland work stoppage gets chaotic

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A work stoppage at the Port of Oakland became somewhat chaotic this morning.

An Oakland police officer had his foot run over by a vehicle crossing a picket line, but opted not to press charges against the driver.

“He’s fine,” said Officer Johnna Watson, a spokesperson for OPD. “He continues to work.”Read more »

City College Trustee resigns, protesting state takeover

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Democracy is a thing of the past at City College of San Francisco, and now one member of its elected board has had enough. City College Trustee Chris Jackson announced today that he is resigning from the college board to protest the state takeover of the school, and he explains his reasoning in an op-ed in this week’s Guardian.

“I came to City College to do good work,” Jackson told the Guardian. “At this point it’s impossible to do that work I set out to do. That’s why I’m leaving.”

Jackson was first elected to City College’s board in 2008, but in 2013 he was a trustee in name only. The day City College was told it would lose its accreditation was also the day it lost its Board of Trustees. Those democratically elected by San Francisco voters to lead City College were pushed aside by California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris.

It was a state takeover, and the board was rendered powerless.

The seven-member board holds no more meetings, drafts no more legislation, casts no more votes. The public cannot hold elected officials accountable when things go wrong -- because the man in charge is no longer someone San Francisco elected. Read more »

City and teachers seek injunction against City College closure

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The plan to save City College of San Francisco took a proactive turn yesterday (Mon/25) as two separate-but-similar preliminary injunctions were being sought against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Read more »

Serial evictors named in mapping project

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The San Francisco Anti-Eviction Mapping Project – the same tenant advocates who produced this time-lapse of Ellis Act evictions – have published a new interactive data visualization, displaying locations of properties where seniors and disabled tenants were ousted by no fault of their own.Read more »

The Performant: Dead man’s party

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Despite the supposed onset of winter, it’s another sunny day as I pedal up to the San Francisco Columbarium, a stately domed edifice perched at the end of a discreet cul de sac off Geary and Arguello. Currently operated by the secular Neptune Society, the Columbarium is one of the last remaining repositories for the dead within San Francisco city limits, the majority of San Francisco’s deceased having been relocated to Colma from the turn of the 20th century on. A group of about 30 curiosity seekers have gathered at the gates. We’ve all come for an Obscura Society “field trip,” in this instance a tour of the iconic structure, led by the man who has been credited with almost single-handedly presiding over the Columbarium’s resurrection from decades of neglect, Emmitt Watson.

The Obscura Society is an offshoot of four year-old online encyclopedia of wonder, Atlas Obscura, and other local excursions have included ones to Suisun Bay, the Albany Bulb, the San Francisco Motorcycle Club clubhouse, an abandoned train station in Oakland, the Zymoglyphic Museum of San Mateo, and an after-dark tour of the Woodlawn cemetery in Colma. Like a darker, more relentless version of Nerd Nite with stronger drinks and more historians, its Tuesday night salons at the DNA Lounge are equally expansive, covering a whole gamut of hidden histories on topics such as vigilantes, rum-runners, the Donner Party, rail transportation, and absinthe.

Read more »

Activists organize, and some journalists chronicle, a progressive resurgence in SF

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While Mayor Ed Lee jets around the world, still too focused on fueling the economic fire that is gentrifying San Francisco and displacing its diverse population — and as the San Francisco Chronicle and other downtown boosters niggle on the margins of Read more »

A fan reacts: 'The Day of the Doctor' at Comic Outpost

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No power in the universe was going to stop local Whovians from enjoying the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor, at Comic Outpost ("home of the largest Doctor Who section in the Bay Area") this past weekend.

Despite recent financial troubles, which Comic Outpost has managed to bounce back from thanks to big sales and community support, the comic shop hosted the screening party that had been promised way back when the 50th anniversary special had been announced.

Read more »

Obama speech interrupted by Bay Area immigration activists

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Ju Hong just wants to see his family for Thanksgiving, and that may be why he shouted down the president of the United States.  

Hong interrupted President Barack Obama’s nationally televised speech in Chinatown today, shouting for justice at the tail end of the president’s call for immigration reform. Read more »