Bus riding tech workers respond to national spotlight on evictions

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Evictions are rippling through San Francisco. Tensions are high. Tech workers with gobs of cash are driving up the rental market in what may be the newest tech bubble -- or the city’s new reality. Protesters took to the street earlier this week, blocking a Google bus to draw attention to gentrification, and our video of a union organizer posing as a Google employee shouting down those protesters lit up the InternetRead more »

Dragons and drag: new movies from Peter Jackson and Tyler Perry, plus more!

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Breathe easy, halfling: the middle installment in Peter Jackson's Hobbit trilogy is a huge improvement over the first film. Also new this week: Emma Thompson turns in a cranky-yet-lovable performance as the woman who wrote Mary Poppins in Saving Mr. Banks (with Tom Hanks playing Walt Disney); Liev Schreiber battles oddly familiar space monsters in The Last Days on Mars; and Tyler Perry celebrates the holidays as only he can, with A Madea Christmas. Read on for reviews and trailers.

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Personal archives: CAAM's home-movie project Memories to Light

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For as long as I can remember, my family has spent New Year's Day at my aunt and uncle’s house in Campbell. As we had our fill of sushi and kamaboko, watched football, and, in more recent years, entertained my little cousins, my Uncle Hiro would walk around the house with his video camera, getting everyone on tape. He would focus in on my brother and me, narrating in Japanese so I could only catch our names and how old we were that year. It was just a thing Uncle Hiro did on New Years Day. I never thought of it as recording history.

But that’s exactly what home movies are – a largely untapped source of our histories from an intimate and personal perspective. Recognizing this, the Center for Asian American Media has developed Memories to Light, an initiative that collects, digitizes, and shares the home movies of Asian American families. Advances in digital media and discussions between CAAM executive director Stephen Gong and archivist and filmmaker Rick Prelinger gave way to the project, which has now gained over a dozen family collections and somewhere between 30 and 50 hours of footage.

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Proposal seeks to improve prospects for the formerly incarcerated

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Questions concerning an individual's criminal history have been banned from city agency employment applications in San Francisco since 2006. Now Sup. Jane Kim has proposed legislation to expand the reach of that policy into the private sector and affordable housing.

Introduced at the Board of Supervisors Tue/10, Kim’s legislation seeks to eliminate the bias of first impression that has long plagued the formerly incarcerated. Read more »

Official SF bike count shows big increase, but not big enough to meet city goals

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As anyone who has traveled the streets of San Francisco knows, there’s an increasing number of bicyclists out there. And the just-released biennial bike count from San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency attempts to quantify that increase: 14 percent since 2011.Read more »

SFUSD gifts city 115 affordable housing units for the holidays

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The San Francisco Board of Education last night (Tue/10) approved a land swap with city government, gifting San Francisco an empty lot that it will use to build new affordable housing. That’s 115 units of living space for low income San Francisco renters, wrapped in a bow for the holidays. 

The proposal was the brainchild of board members Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell and Sandra Lee Fewer, who worked on the measure with the Mayor’s Office of Housing for over two years. The district will trade a lot on 1950 Mission street and another on Connecticut in exchange for a property it currently rents from the city of San Francisco. The city will also pay SFUSD $4.5 million, according to district data.

Last night was the culmination of that work, which Fewer said was the right thing to do.

“Could we get more money from [selling] this property with a private developer? I’m sure. But would we get the value? No,” Fewer said at the meeting. Read more »

Real tech worker says SF homeless "grotesque," "degenerates," "trash"

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Just a day after a fake tech worker blew up the Internet with class hatred, an actual tech worker spewed hatred for real -- and it’s worse than anything that our political thespian had to say.

As first reported by tech blog Valleywag, AngelHack founder and CEO Greg Gopman posted this gem on his Facebook yesterday: 

Just got back to SF. I've traveled around the world and I gotta say there is nothing more grotesque than walking down market st in San Francisco. Why the heart of our city has to be overrun by crazy, homeless, drug dealers, dropouts, and trash I have no clue. Each time I pass it my love affair with SF dies a little. Read more »

Breaking the fast

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Vincent Pan barely had the energy to speak, and seemed to fall asleep before the eyes of the 30 or so activists gathered in Chinatown last night.

Pan, executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action, was on the 11th day of a fast he’d started in solidarity with immigration activists who fasted for 22 days in Washington DC, all with a common goal -- to push Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Last evening, Mon/9, marked his last night depriving himself of food. Before taking his first bite in nearly two weeks, he reflected on what the fast meant for him.Read more »

The Performant: Home is where the art is

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Valencia Street art space struggles to retain its physical and spiritual existence
 
Sometimes you stumble across places that just feel like home the instant you step across the threshold. Maybe not the kind of home where you lounge around in sweatpants binging on Dynamo Donuts and Netflix, but a home that offers comfort for the spirit, where creativity and intention reign. Curiosity shop, design showcase, and artist enclave, Viracocha at 998 Valencia Street has been one such home for many, from the poets who helped build its pallet-wood walls, to the neighborhood literati who donated to and borrowed from Ourshelves, the private lending library that until very recently occupied the back of the building, to the acoustic musicians and spoken-word artists who gathered in the basement to perform and to connect, to the visual artists whose work was treated as décor first and merchandise almost as an afterthought.

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Folsom Street gets a bike-friendly makeover

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In the wake of some high-profile cases of motorists running over cyclists in San Francisco this year, including the Aug. 14 death of Amelie Le Moullac at the intersection of Folsom and 6th Streets, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has taken a lane from drivers to create safer cycling along seven key blocks of fast-moving Folsom Street.Read more »

Morphenomenal 'Struggled Reagans' will possibly give universe an STD

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See video

We've been fans of Gregg Golding, aka hyperreal rapper Odynophagia, for years. We've also been waiting for his epic movie Struggled Reagans to be released for years. And now it's gonna be! "Taking inspiration from Power Rangers, decaying tokusatsu, & nightmares of '90s children," the film will debut at New People, Wed/11, 9pm as part of the Another Hole in the Head fest.

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"Why'd you do it?" we ask Fake Google employee Max Bell Alper

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Within a half hour of our original post on today's tech gentrification and transit protest, the Guardian learned that Max Bell Alper, a union organizer with Unite Here Local 2850 was the man shouting down Google bus protesters earlier this morning. We asked Alper what motivated him to impersonate a Google employee.

You can read the original post, with updates, here.

Alper maintained that he meant no deception, and that it was all "political theater."Read more »

On displacement, journalism, and the Guardian's fake Google-buser video

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It’s been a whirlwind morning here in the Guardian newsroom. First our coverage of the surprise Google bus blockade and protest, along with a video that appeared to show a Google bus rider shouting at protesters, went viral (congratulations to getting onto our site now, it’s been hard to keep it up). Then we discovered the guy was actually protester Max Alper, who staged this intriguing bit of street theater on the spot, unbeknowst to protest organizers who had tipped us off to their event in advance.Read more »

UPDATE: Union organizer shouts down protesters as they block private Google shuttle

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Protesters blocked a private Google shuttle on Valencia street today, decrying private shuttle's use of public bus stops without paying fees or fines.

The group of 20 or so neon-yellow vested protesters called themselves the "San Francisco Displacement and Neighborhood Impact Agency." The company doesn't pay San Francisco a dime to use the Muni stops -- fines that private auto drivers pay regularly.Read more »

Joe Bulgo: The neglected hero of Pearl Harbor

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By Bruce B. Brugmann

(B3 note: reprinted from last year and to be reprinted every year by me for reasons that will become apparent upon reading this story.)

This is the incredible story of the neglected hero of Pearl Harbor.

His name is Joe Bulgo and he lived across the street from our family for years on 14th Avenue in the West Portal area. I knew him as a neighbor, and our daughter and son played with his two daughters. His wife Val for decades has sold and still sells fine jewelry in a downtown department store. Daughter Linda played the star Snow White for years in Beach Blanket Babylon and now has her own show in Las Vegas. Daughter Dianne is the catering director at the St. Francis Hotel.  And our families shared a wonderful domestic helper, Rose Zelalich.

But neither our family nor any of his neighbors had any idea of his Pearl Harbor heroism until his daughter Linda gave me a copy of a story on Joe in the December issue of the 1990 Readers Digest. Read more »