With five supervisorial seats open and only one incumbent running, the Labor Council has had a tough time picking the right pro-labor candidates. The easy choices were incumbent Carmen Chu in District 4, with no opposition, and Raphael Mandelman, an exceptionally promising newcomer in District 8. But Janet Reilly in District 2 opposes the Labor Council's revenue measures. In District 6, where long-time activist Deborah Walker has been endorsed, and in District 8, where Malia Cohen and Chris Jackson are #1 and #2, there are a multitude of candidates, many of them labor friendly. It's not an easy year.
Prop. B on San Francisco's November election ballot confronts the city's working people and their unions with an unprecedented challenge. The measure, sponsored by Public Defender Jeff Adachi, would severely weaken public employee unions and undoubtedly lead to other serious attacks on workers and unions in private as well as public employment nationwide.
The proposition is by no means the only dangerously anti-labor measure on the ballot, but it 's the worst from labor's point of view, as it very well should be. It's a prime example of the public-employee bashing that's become a favorite theme in election campaigns everywhere and, if passed, would set a clear national precedent.
Actually, Prop. B might better be described as a pummeling rather than bashing - and one coming, furthermore, just a few months after city employees took a voluntary $250 million pay cut. Prop. B would steeply raise the employees' contributions to their pensions unilaterally and prohibit bargaining on the issue in the future as well. Read more »
I had a blind date with Dixie De La Tour, but I wasn't nervous. If all else failed, at least she would bring stories to tell. And how – De La Tour is the founder and emcee of Bawdy Storytelling, a randy live series with two events next week (Wed/6 and Sat/9) that will bring writers, comedians, and normal folk-like to the stage to share corset-busting sexcapades with an audience of vicarious pervs. Read more »
"This is the gayest thing I've ever done in my life!" laughed my friend Ricky Strawberry as he twirled around and around, unfurling lengths of tie-dyed cloth to Hi-NRG dance tracks from a live DJ in the sunshine. If you know Ricky Strawberry, that's pretty damn sparkly pink unicorn in a rainbow thong bathing under a Splenda waterfall gay. In fact, it was the gayest thing anyone in my pinko posse had ever done, as well, and we had a ball. It was gay, it was amazing, it was gaymazing, and you should do it too.
At last week's California Music and Culture Association forum on San Francisco's war on fun, I was on a media panel with San Francisco Chronicle columnist CW Nevius that answered questions posed by the audience, and Nevius steadfastly denied that he has any kind of agenda in writing so regularly about the need to crackdown on nightlife and streetlife. Read more »
The County Board in Arlington, Virginia and the Santa Clara Board of Supervisors both voted unanimously September 28 to opt out of S-Comm, a controversial Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data-sharing program also known as Secure Communities. Read more »
Local Arts: “Bodies in Space(s)” and Project Bandaloop float beneath and soar above
Because words so often fail in the realm of the everyday, it’s not surprising that some performers prefer to eschew them altogether, crafting their manifestoes with the indelible inks of pure action. Of course just as the written or spoken word can be misinterpreted, the language of the body can also be misunderstood.
How, for example, to interpret the Mad Maxian figure duct-taped to the pillar in front of Madrone Art Bar with his eyes wrapped shut with cord and a tiny television under his arm (Daniel Blomquist)? Or the spectacle of watching another get wrapped up in strips of calligraphied bandages and papier-mâché (Justin Hoover)? Sure, you could read a florid artist’s statement about the impetus behind such actions, but those often only underscore the inadequacy of words to convey the immediate. Allowing oneself to be simply drawn in should be a surrender more frequently employed when confronted with the emphatically unfamiliar.
Director Davis Guggenheim won an Academy Award for 2006’s An Inconvenient Truth. His latest film, Waiting for “Superman”, takes on the United States’ failing public education system. In some ways, the documentary represents a return to Guggenheim’s first subject. “The very first documentary I made followed first-year teachers, because I believed that teachers were the answer to our schools,” he says. “And I still believe that. Now I wanted to talk about the kids and their families, and what’s at stake for them.”
The kids and families in question are the subjects of Waiting for “Superman”, which follows five young people in search of a better education. While the scope of the film is large — covering the history and bureaucracy that has created this national epidemic — Guggenheim is careful never to stray far from the victims of the crisis.
“The really hard part about it is how complicated this issue is, and it’s hard to simplify it,” he explains. “And I wanted it to be understandable to everybody. Whenever I got lost, I would always bring it back to the kids. It’s a very simple story: five kids, all they want is to go to a great school.”
In today's episode, Johnny and Tim deconstruct the Whitman-Brown debate -- and talk about how the gap between the rich and the poor is so unsustainable that it's taking the nation down a very dangerous road. Check it out after the jump. Read more »
Whoever said a cable car couldn't be operated on woman power alone clearly had never met the steam engine on this grandmother. Fannie Mae Barnes of Oakland, California was the first woman ever to operate a cable car grip – not because it was a higher paying position, or an easier gig, but because she was told that women didn't have the strength to do the job right.
Barnes started pumping iron, passed the 25-day grip operator training program notorious for its 80 percent drop out rate, and became a source of civic pride. She even drove the Olympic torch up the Hyde Street hill en route to the 2002 Winter Olympics. A documentary about her achievement, “Getting a Grip,” will be shown tonight at Lunafest, a traveling film festival that screens movies made by and about women to benefit the Breast Cancer Fund. We caught up with Barnes for a phone interview about knocking down one of the city's diehard gender divisions of labor.
During last night's gubernatorial debate, Republican nominee Meg Whitman bashed “illegal” immigrants and singled out San Francisco as the state's worst coddler of those without proper immigration papers. But today, it was revealed that Whitman employed an undocumented Mexican immigrant as her housekeeper and nanny from 2000 until last year. Ah, karma, the great leveler.
Purposely constructed anonymity as a reaction to this supposed Internet Age of Information is by now pretty passe in music circles (cf. Silver Columns, jj, Burial). So some may have rolled their eyes when future dubber Clubroot went that route with his first releases, even though the music was intellectually sensuous and the first full-length release received raves from Dubstepforum to Pitchfork.
Update:According to LGBTpov.com, Gov. Schwarzenegger yesterday "signed the Mental Health Services for At-Risk Youth Act (SB 543), which will expand access to essential mental health services for youth ages 12-17. The bill, authored by openly gay State Sen. Mark Leno and sponsored by Equality California, allows teens to obtain counseling without parental consent." Unfortunately, "Friday morning, Charles Robbins, Executive Director of The Trevor Project reported a fifth suicide -- Raymond Chase, 19, a sophomore at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island took his own life on Wednesday." Hopefully kids in California will at least have expanded access to mental health counseling services. Original post is below.
For the fourth time this month, a kid who was harassed by anti-gay bullies has taken his own life. Seth Walsh, an out gay 13-year-old in Tehachapi, in central California, had been transferred from middle school to an independent study program, reportedly because he had been teased relentlessly about his orientation. Ten days ago he was found unconscious at the base of a tree in his backyard, apparently after he had attempted to hang himself. His parents took him off life support yesterday in Bakersfield.
Even though other kids admitted to harassing Seth -- police reported that some of them "broke down in tears" because "they had never seen this outcome," and wished they hadn't participated in the bullying -- no charges will be pressed against them: their actions do not constitute a crime.