I am surrounded by people with purple teeth, stained from too much red wine. These people are twisted beyond belief, screaming obscenities about forgotten 90s bands, while wine sloshes around in glasses suspended by those stupid-looking lanyard wine glass holders. I want to say to them, “Literally, handle your shit. Like, physically hold your glass of wine. You’re a grown up.” It’s like a bad summer picnic for rich winos…Read more »
By Bruce B. Brugmann (with the complete text of Art Agnos speech to the May 21 dinner of San Francisco Tomorrow)
When Art Agnos was sworn in as mayor in 1988, he used the Athenian Oath that was taken by young men reaching the age of majority in Athens 2000 years ago. He shortened the oath (as many did) to say: “I promise…upon my honor…to leave my city better than I found it.”
For Agnos, a Greek steeped in Greek traditions, the oath was a serious matter. “At the heart of our vision,” Agnos said in his inaugural address, “ is a refusal to let San Francisco become an expensive enclave that locks out the middle class, working families and the poor. At the center of our strategy is a belief in the basic right of people to decent jobs and housing.”
Twenty-six years later, Citizen Agnos was working hard in private life to leave his city better than he had found it. He led a citizens’ movement that stopped the monstrous 8 Washington project, knocked the Warriors off the piers, forced the Giants to lower their highrise expectations, and promoted Proposition B that would stop the Wall on the Waterfront and require a public vote on any increases to current height limits on port property.
And Agnos is having the time of his life doing all this, as he made clear in his remarks to San Francisco Tomorrow, the one organization in town that has been manning the barricades in every major Manhattanization battle all these years on the waterfront and everywhere else. He enjoys taking on Mayor Lee and “the high tech billionaire political network that wants to control city hall and fulfill their vision of who can live here and where.” And he must relish the Chronicle’s C.W.Nevius and the paper’s editors and their self-immolating bouts of hysteria. Read more »
The Pink Mountaintops performed last night at The Chapel in the Mission District to a loyal crowd of friends and fans, who patiently waited for McBean and his new line up — which includes Dead Meadow’s Steven Kille, Will Scott, and Gregg Foreman of Cat Power — to take the stage.Read more »
On Wednesday night at The Independent, a sold-out crowd anxiously awaits the mysterious creature known as BANKS. Cloaked in layers of black fabric that fall to her ankles, the dark chanteuse struts deliberately to center stage, where a spotlight shines onto her pale face. The L.A.-based signer-songwriter seductively sets into the dark R&B track “Before I Ever Met You,” recalling instrumentals by The Weeknd, with whom she toured last year.Read more »
If you don’t know of Elbow by now, you should probably stop reading this and go spend some time under a tree, staring out into space, contemplating your existence up to this point. Unless, of course, you want to be brought up to speed and welcomed into a community of people who love the brooding baritone lyrical genius of lead singer Guy Garvey, sung over pulsing drums, spacey melodic piano, and topped off with anthemic triumphant sing-along choruses.Read more »
By Bruce B. Brugmann (with special sunshine vendetta chronology by Richard Knee)
The Guardian story in the current issue demonstrates in 96 point tempo bold how important the glare of sunshine and publicity is in City Hall in keeping the public’s business public. Yet, the anti-sunshine gang in City Hall is intensifying its savage attack on the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.
The Sunshine Ordinance established the Sunshine Task Force to serve as the people’s court for hearing citizen complaints on public access, thus giving citizens a way to get secret records, open secret meetings, and hold government officials accountable. It empowers citizens to be watchdogs on issues they care about. It is the first and best ordinance of its kind in the country, if not in the world, and its effectiveness is shown by the fact that the anti-sunshine gang regularly tries to bounce strong members and gut the task force.
Terry Francke, then the executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition and author of the ordinance, and I as a founder anticipated this problem in trhe early 1990s and put a mandate into the original ordinance for the task force to have representatives from the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (a journalist and media attorney) and the San Francisco League of Women Voters, two organizations with experience and tradition with open government issues. Later, the mandate included a representative from New America Media, to insure a member of color for the task force.
I served for 10 years on the task force and then Mayor Willie Brown made the point about City Hall interference by targeting me for extinction. He tried several times to kick me off the task force. I refused to budge, on the principle that neither the mayor nor any other city official should be able to arbitrarily kick off a member of the task force for doing his/her job. When Willie left office, I left the task force when my term was up and the principle was intact.
Today, as Richard Knee writes in his timeline and chronology below, the principle is once again under city hall attack. Knee replaced me as the journalist representative of SPJ and has served under fire for a record 12 years. He writes that the latest attack is retaliation for a unanimous finding by the task force in September 2011 when Board President David Chiu and Supervisors Scott Wiener, Malia Cohen, and Eric Mar violated local and state open meeting laws by ramming through the monstrous Park Merced redevelopment contract with 14 pages of amendments that Chiu slipped in “literally minutes” before the committee vote.
This was a historic task force vote in the public interest, and a historic vote for open government and for all the good causes. But instead it prompted a smear- dilute-and- ouster campaign by the Board of Supervisors, with timely assists from the city attorney's office. The ugly play by play follows. The good news is that the sunshine forces inside and outside city hall are fighting back, hard and fast, and with a keen eye on all upcoming elections. Stay tuned. On guard. :
Regular Muni riders have no doubt seen the wheelchair-accessible seats, located just in front of Muni's middle door, snapped up in the upright position. A seat not for sitting, leading confused riders to wonder: why has Muni left these seats permanently upright?Read more »
With all the tears shed and (Internet) ink spilled bemoaning the death of the Mission District at the hands of the tech bubble, it's easy to forget lately that there actually are still artists here. There are people who give a shit about community here — even people who've dedicated their lives to building it.Read more »
The Anti-Eviction Mapping Project has come out with a number of visualization projects in the past year to document the trend of eviction in San Francisco, where rents have reached absurdly high levels and landlords have a greater incentive to oust longtime tenants.Read more »
Politics is dirty business, and I should never underestimate the willingness of politicians to turn any editorial praise they receive into an electoral advantage, distorting the context as needed, a lesson that I was reminded of this week.
Several Guardian readers have called me this week to complain about a mailer dropped on voters by the David Chiu for Assembly campaign, which includes long quotes from Chiu’s endorsements by the San Francisco Chronicle and Bay Area Reporter, as well as positive quotes from the Bay Guardian and San Francisco Examiner.Read more »
[Editor’s Note: This is the text of a speech that former Mayor Art Agnos gave at San Francisco Tomorrow’s annual dinner on May 21. We reprint it here in its entirely so readers can hear directly what Agnos has been saying on the campaign trail in support of Prop. B]
I am delighted to speak to the members and friends of SFT about the waterfront tonight…and a special shout out to Jane Morrison as one of the pioneer professional women in the media and one of the finest Social Service Commissioners in our City’s history. Read more »
Papercuts, the indie-folk output of San Francisco songwriter-producer Jason Quever, has been a San Francisco staple for a decade now. By turns stark and raw and layered, lush and atmospheric, Papercuts' newest album, Life Among the Savages is full of excellent songs for a long, moody solo drive.Read more »