EDITORIAL If you're worried about the safety of the natural gas mains running below San Francisco — and you should be — you might take a look at a city on the Peninsula, one about 22 miles south of the site of the gas explosion in San Bruno. Since 1927, the city of Palo Alto has been running its own gas and electric utility — and instead of worrying about pipelines blowing up, the city recently won an award for safety.
Palo Alto workers inspected every inch of every gas pipe in 2009, and the steel pipes are replaced every 37 years — well ahead of the rated lifetime of the material. Oh, and by the way: gas and electricity are way cheaper in Palo Alto.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., the private utility that operates most of the pipelines underneath northern California, has a different approach. In the past, the company has been nailed for diverting ratepayer money from public safety and maintenance into executive salaries and profits. And the backlog of deferred pipeline maintenance (despite the fact that the company has been given rate hikes to pay for replacing old pipes) suggests that the pattern may be continuing.
Amid the ongoing state budget impasse and an election season dominated by scapegoatingpublic employee unions for public sector fiscal problems, Sen. Leland Yee (D-SF) today introduced legislation to hold corporations that receive tax breaks accountable for the jobs they claim to create, a bill that was quietly killed earlier this year after being approved by both houses of the Legislature.
Prop. J would increase San Francisco's hotel tax of 14 percent – which is lower than such big cities as Seattle, Chicago, and New York -- by 2 percent. Opponents of the measure, such as District 8 supervisorial candidate Scott Wiener, say they are concerned that San Francisco would have the highest such tax in the country and that tourism could suffer as a result.Read more »
Vodka -- it's a spirit that in sophisticated drink communities like San Francisco can sometimes elicit more scorn than love, even if most of the country drinks it well above other spirits. I'm not alone in saying it tends to be the last spirit I'd order at a bar. Read more »
Voters seeking information about The Civil Sidewalks Coalition, the group backing Proposition L to establish a new San Francisco law against sitting and lying down on city sidewalks, might’ve gotten a shock if they visited CivilSidewalks.org instead of CivilSidewalks.com. Read more »
“The stage used to be right here.” Bob Ayres, founding partner of the classic Haight-Ashbury stand up comedy club, The Other Café, is sitting in his old yuckster stomping grounds, now a neighborhood crepery. He’s gesturing to the corner of the restaurant, roughly where we’re sitting, and where his small stage used to host everyone from Robin Williams to Jerry Seinfeld. Now in its place it’s just me and Bob and a guy eating a sandwich two tables down. Could a desire for resurrection be driving Ayres’ Other Café reunion show this weekend (Sat/25)? Read more »
The fine art of creating shitty movies can be divided into two camps — intentional and unintentional. And while I have to admit, I’m much more a fan of the latter (Troll 2, The Roomand the Blair Witchsequel all come to mind), I really love what the folks at the Asylum are up to. Any film studio with the balls to release a movie called Titanic II (“Looks like history is repeating itself”) is just fine in my book.
Scott Weiner has a long record in District 8. He helped build the LGBT Center, was the president of the Eureka Valley Improvement Association, co-founded Castro Community On Patrol, was co-chair of the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Club and chaired the San Francisco Democratic Party between 2006 and 2008.Read more »