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From the Blogs

Ammiano and Leno seek to reform the Ellis Act and slow SF evictions [UPDATED]

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State lawmakers from San Francisco are launching a two-pronged attack on the Ellis Act, which real estate speculators are increasingly using to evict tenants from rent-controlled apartments and cash in on a housing market that's been heated up by demand from high-paid employees of the booming tech sector.Read more »

Happy Hour: The week in music

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Dearest clock-watchers! If you hadn't noticed, it's almost the weekend. In the event that your excitement is currently tempered with social anxiety about which pop culture topics to discuss over happy hour beverages — a very sad and all-too-common affliction — here are a few gems from the music world that the Internet bestowed upon us this week.Read more »

Speakers boycotting security conference to protest collaboration with NSA

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On Feb. 24, the world’s largest computer security conference, RSA, will commence at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. It’s a huge deal: Speakers will include Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and closing remarks will be given by comedian Stephen Colbert.

Started in 1991, the RSA Conference has grown exponentially. But this year, 13 digital security experts have canceled their scheduled talks in protest of recent revelations that RSA cooperated with the National Security Agency to use a flawed tool for safeguarding sensitive information.Read more »

Tougher library policies would penalize homeless patrons for sleeping, body odor

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The way homeless residents are treated in San Francisco has come under scrutiny lately, with recent reports of homeless individuals being sprayed with hoses by Department of Public Works staff who started doing early-morning sidewalk cleanings nearby Twitter’s mid-Market headquarters.Read more »

Slamdance Film Festival 2014 report!

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Twenty years ago, a few filmmakers — including Dan Mirvish, Peter Baxter, and Paul Rachman — rented out a room in a Prospector Square hotel, creating the first Slamdance Film Festival

Their motivation: "the other film festival in Park City" had perhaps lost some of its independent spirit. Over the years this "little festival that could" has continued to showcase emerging filmmakers. Some of those upstarts have achieved A-list status since their Slamdance debuts: Christopher Nolan (more on him below) and Marc Forster, for example. 

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Chiu and others get stung for support from speculators and evictors

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Our colleagues down the hall at the San Francisco Examiner seem to have spoiled tonight’s [Thu/30] fundraiser for David Chiu’s Assembly race by reporting this hour that the host, attorney Steven MacDonald, is on a housing activists’ blacklist for representing landlords in controversial Ellis Act evictions.Read more »

New study: San Francisco has second highest inequality in United States

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San Francisco has the second highest gap between the rich and the poor in the United States, according to a new study from the Brookings Institution released today.  Read more »

Video: Behind the scenes at Goldies photoshoots

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Behind the scenes on two photoshoots for the SF Bay Guardian's 25th annual Guardian Outstanding Local Discovery arts awards. Winners Malic Amalya (film) and Brontez Purnell (performance/music) are featured in the video, with photographers Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover, who have been photographing Goldies winners for the past 18 years.

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Activists, union challenge Google bus pilot program

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San Francisco activists and labor filed an appeal of the controversial commuter shuttle (aka, the Google buses) pilot program to the Board of Supervisors today, alleging it was pushed through without a proper environmental review. 

The appeal was filed by a coalition of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, SEIU 1021, The League of Pissed Off Voters, and Sara Shortt of the Housing Rights Committee. Read more »

Live Shots: Hether Fortune gets cathartic at the Night Light

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Last Friday it was Valentine’s Day, but all I saw was tears. I’ve wondered before how some musicians can sing some of their more emotional songs during live performance without becoming visibly emotional themselves. Aren’t they attached to those lyrics (especially if they’ve written them)? Are they desensitized by the one-hundredth time they play that song about having their heart ripped out by the one who doesn’t even love them anymore? Or worse yet — the one who never did? Read more »

Sundance, fin: more from the Native Forum

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Running into Chris Eyre was easily one of the most exciting moments of this year's festival. Following his 1998 Audience Award-winning debut, Smoke Signals, Eyre premiered Skins at Sundance 2002, just a few months after 9/11 — and it still ranks as one of the most memorable cinematic experiences I've ever had. 

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Controversial housing proposal at 16th and Mission follows calls to "Clean up the Plaza"

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El Tecolote had a great cover story last week about the coalition that has formed to oppose a large housing development proposed for the corner of 16th and Mission streets, with 351 new homes that would tower 10 stories above the BART plaza, which is a gathering place f Read more »

Healthy San Francisco enrollees can stay – for now

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Thousands of Healthy San Francisco enrollees will soon face a dilemma.

Federal health care reform will hold them to the “individual mandate,” a requirement to obtain health insurance – but Healthy San Francisco doesn’t count. Roughly 70 percent of uninsured San Franciscans currently rely upon the city-administered program, created by San Francisco’s Health Care Security Ordinance, to access medical care.

Anyone who doesn’t satisfy the individual mandate will be made to fork over $95 as a penalty – but that noncompliance fee will skyrocket to $625 in 2015.Read more »

Kelly challenges Cohen in D10

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After being narrowly edged out in the race for the District 10 seat on the Board of Supervisors four years ago, Potrero Hill political activist Tony Kelly says he will launch his campaign for the seat tomorrow [Wed/18], challenging incumbent Malia Cohen.Read more »

UPDATE: Rabblerousers drag Google down from astral plane

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At one point protesting tech buses was new and shiny, but now it barely registers a shrug from San Franciscans. The newest eviction protest took a different turn.

On Saturday, protesters jumped up on stage to interrupt Googlers meditating at the annual Wisdom 2.0 conference. The Google corporateers sat on the stage, ready to share their secret to mindfulness “the Google way.” No one said “meditate on all the money you’re making,” but maybe it was implied. Read more »