On every level — federal, state and local — the Nov. 2 election is critical. Californians will decide whether a billionaire with no political experience and a failed business executive with right-wing views should be the next governor and senator. They'll address a long list of major ballot measures. In San Francisco, voters will decide the balance of power on the Board of Supervisors, weigh in on ballot measures that could deeply affect the local budget, and decide whether this city wants to allow a harsh crackdown on the homeless.Read more »
Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Eileen Hirst reminded me today that 75-80 percent of the people behind bars at the San Francisco County Jail are still in the pre-trial stage. Hirst first shared that stastic with me earlier this year, when the jail got dumped from the list of buildings that will be earthquake retrofitted, if voters approve Proposition A this fall.Read more »
We ran out of space in today's print edition and couldn't publish either of the two opeds I wanted to run, so I'm posting them here. The first one is by the chairman of the SF Democratic Party.
By Aaron Peskin
As one of the most Democratic cities in California, San Francisco has a special responsibility to make sure we help elect a Democratic ticket on November 2nd. We always take that responsibility seriously – but this year we will have the pleasure of helping elect our own to statewide office: Gavin Newsom as Lt. Governor, Kamala Harris as Attorney General and even native son Jerry Brown as California’s next Governor.
To hear father and son artistic team Rene and Rio Yañez talk about San Francisco's Day of the Dead celebration is to realize how much the holiday has taken on its own light here in the city. “It's about personal experience, but also politics,” Rene says. The duo have crafted another year of homage to the dead around us -- and in so doing also reflect a shifting scene in San Francisco art.
No art event in the city reflects evolving tradition more than the Yañezs' yearly exhibit of Dia de los Muertos altars at SOMArts Cultural Center (opening Fri/8). As the three of us sit in Rene's office at SOMArts next to the cow brain in a mason jar on top of which the elder Yañez -- the center's director of special projects -- has stacked a pair of headphones and a plush Taco Bell chihuahua, Rene tells his son and myself about the first public Day of the Dead celebration in San Francisco. Read more »
In San Francisco's Presidio, one of the few national parks that is mandated to pay for its operations with the proceeds from development, historic preservation is often undermined by commercial concerns. And critics contend the proposal for a big new hotel at the Main Post is a prime example of that model's shortcomings.Read more »
Nine hundred thousand people and over 70 bands braved the drifting fog banks for this weekend's 10th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. With a crowd that size, you have to think logistics. So at my interview with HSB bankroller-birthday boy Warren Hellman well before the madness, I asked who were the up and comers to look out for. I chicken-danced our way through Speedway Meadows accordingly.
“The Ebony Hillbillies,” Hellman told me, chuckling over lead singer – and as the band's press kit explains, “bones” of the group -- Gloria Gassaway's penchant for abrupt audience interaction. The HSB performance would be its first in the Bay Area, and Hellman was happy to have been its means of infiltration, particularly for Gassaway's no-nonsense stage presence. “She's quite a woman,” he said. Read more »
Wednesday through Saturday nights there's a ready-made date if you want romance without having to think too hard. At $80 a person, it's a package deal between Luce Restaurant (which I've written about more than once) in the Intercontinental Hotel and Top of the Mark. Choose the order - three course dinner or cocktails first - with a cab ride included to the second location. Read more »
Managers at Hotel Frank, who have been sparring with their employees since taking over the financially troubled hotel following a bank foreclosure earlier this year, last week fired an outspoken union organizer on the day after the hotel was targeted by a boisterous picket line. But the employee, longtime bellman Marc Norton, said this transparent effort to intimidate the workers won't work.Read more »
Absinthe is on the move from its initial novelty phase once finally legalized in the US in 2007 into an era where appreciators of fine drink are gaining greater education and refinement on the subject. No, it is not a hallucinogen (more on that in a minute), and no, it's not the artificially sweetened and colored liqueurs flooding the market (but labeled as absinthe). When made as it has been historically, it's a natural, herbal spirit with a rich culture surrounding it. Read more »