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Around the world with SF International Film Festival documentaries

This Week's Paper

 Tons of SFIFF film fest previews. Plus: Sunday parking fail, leftie Gov candidates, California punk, 'Tribes,' mapo tofu, more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

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 »

Holiday shopping, anti-gentrification style

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Anti-gentrification isn't just a hot-button issue in San Francisco. It's core-of-the-sun hot.

And that's why Prensa POBRE/POOR Magazine, a magazine dedicated to giving marginalized populations a voice, is hosting the "Anti-Gentrification Arts Market in the Gentrified Mission District of San Francisco" on Saturday (12/7).

The event, taking place at POOR Magazine (2940 16th Street in San Francisco) from 4-7pm, is prominently featuring a lineup of artists that have been directly affected by the rapid gentrification of San Francisco.Read more »

In the last week before Oscar/Christmas season really roars to life ... new movies!

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This week, we feature a pair of excellent documentaries: Frederick Wiseman's At Berkeley (review here) and The Punk Singer, about riot grrrl icon Kathleen Hanna (review and interview here). Read on for short takes on this week's new releases!

Read more »

Oakland joins 100 cities in national fast food strike

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It was a bad day for Big Macs, but a good day for workers. 

Joining a nationwide day of action, a wave of over a hundred protesters crowded into a Oakland McDonald's, on Jackson street, demanding fast food workers to join in the strike.

Four employees joined in the strike, and others briefly joined the march outside.

100 cities across the country held similar strikes, with workers in Detroit, New York City and more demanding a livable wage of $15 an hour. 

The protest was nationally led by labor unions, including the SEIU, but locally it was led by men like Jose Martinez. Martinez led the strike at KFC some time back, and was one of the organizers at the forefront of today's action at McDonald's and other fast food outlets. 

"It's a movement for all fast food workers to come together and fight for our rights," he said.

Standing with Martinez in Oakland, rapper, performer and music producer Boots Riley said he was in support of the fast food workers' movement.

"Fighting to raise wages of anyone helps everyone, a high tide raises all boats," he told the Guardian. "You help make that profit, your labor is worth more than minimum wage."

Inside, the fast food joint was bursting at the seams, the workers hungry for justice. Read more »

Marcus Books can stay if it can raise $1 million

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Marcus Book Store continues to be threatened with the loss of its Fillmore Street location – but if an ambitious community-based campaign can succeed in raising $1 million by Feb. 28, the institution will be able to remain where it is for the foreseeable future.Read more »

How watching paint dry could help San Francisco cyclists

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San Francisco and its transit agency have lofty goals. Half of all trips made in San Francisco by 2018 will be by modes other than cars, and 20 percent of vehicle trips will be by bike in 2020, if the city has its way.

One major obstacle to both of those goals is paint. Yeah, the gooey stuff. 

Sup. Eric Mar convened a hearing on bike expansion strategy today, exploring a newly released report he requested from the budget analyst which outlines the (bike) path to a more fixie-friendly San Francisco.  

The report outlined obstacles to expanding bicycle use in the city and gave many recommendations on raising funds, but one of the lowlights was a series of backlogs in the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority’s Traffic Paint Shop, which paints bike lanes and sharrow signs on pavement across the city.

The problem is, the bike lanes aren’t getting painted. At least not all of them.

“I felt, with bike advocates and others, pissed off,” Mar said, of the lack of progress on bike safety implementation in the city. “This hearing is coming from much of those frustrations.” Read more »

No poetry or magic in being a robot

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I felt yesterday like I had been scooped after reading Jennifer Maerz’s post in the Bold Italic, which asked: Is Talking About High Rents So Often Crippling Our City?

She linked to the blog of “robotics genius” Kal Spelletich, who is a friend of mine. We’ve been getting into heated discussions on this very topic for months. Kal makes fantastical interactive machines that do things like spit fire, harness random mechanical motion to produce musical notes on a piano or a violin, or engulf you in an aromatic bundle of fennel, just for an instant. His creations are robots.

I spent a bit of time in his studio, a giant waterfront warehouse in the southeastern part of the city where strange, sharp-edged contraptions hang from the ceilings. I shared stories about the articles I was writing, increasingly on evictions and the dearth of affordable housing in San Francisco. But as we dissected the problem, Kal rejected what he saw as a narrative of desperation that has been formulated in response to the city's affordable housing crisis.

Read more »

How the Bay Area is celebrating #GivingTuesday

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Today (Tue/3) people are switching gears from the consumer madness of Black Friday, the shopping kickoff of the holiday season.

Dec. 3 marks the second annual #GivingTuesday, created to encourage generosity in support of positive change rather than materialistic consumerism.

According to this website, the 92nd Street Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association, in partnership with the United Nations Foundation, was the catalyst and incubator for the #GivingTuesday initiative, billed as “a new day for giving back.”Read more »

Unions suing BART board over contract disagreement today, no strike yet

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Two of BART's largest unions will announce a lawsuit against the BART board of directors today on the steps of the Alameda County Superior Court at 11am, which they plan to file shortly before the press conference.

The suit will directly challenge the board's Nov. 21 decision to ratify a contract between the unions and BART management without a hotly contested provision on family leave.

In their announcement of the suit, SEIU Local 1021 and ATU Local 1555 allege the board made "illegitimate and unprecedented actions" in ratifying the contract while removing a section on family leave, which was signed off on by BART management in July. Under the provision, workers who go on leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act would be paid for six of the 12 weeks the law allows them to take unpaid. 

Management has since called signing off on family leave a "mistake," and the board asked all sides to ratify a contract without the provision, hence the lawsuit.

But would a lawsuit mean a new strike? Read more »

Albany Bulb dwellers speak out on temporary shelter arrangement

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The ongoing eviction saga at the Albany Bulb, which the Guardian has covered extensively in recent weeks, previously hinged on a debate around conflicting ideas over what was considered appropriate use for a waterfront park.Read more »

Mantra from the Milk/Moscone memorial march: "Fight back!"

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Hundreds of activists and progressive San Franciscans marked the 35th anniversary of the Mayor George Moscone and Sup. Harvey Milk assassinations on Wednesday night in the Castro with fiery speeches urging the crowd to “fight back!” against displacement and gentrification, conjuring the words and spirit of those slain leftist leaders.Read more »

Port of Oakland work stoppage gets chaotic

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A work stoppage at the Port of Oakland became somewhat chaotic this morning.

An Oakland police officer had his foot run over by a vehicle crossing a picket line, but opted not to press charges against the driver.

“He’s fine,” said Officer Johnna Watson, a spokesperson for OPD. “He continues to work.”Read more »

City College Trustee resigns, protesting state takeover

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Democracy is a thing of the past at City College of San Francisco, and now one member of its elected board has had enough. City College Trustee Chris Jackson announced today that he is resigning from the college board to protest the state takeover of the school, and he explains his reasoning in an op-ed in this week’s Guardian.

“I came to City College to do good work,” Jackson told the Guardian. “At this point it’s impossible to do that work I set out to do. That’s why I’m leaving.”

Jackson was first elected to City College’s board in 2008, but in 2013 he was a trustee in name only. The day City College was told it would lose its accreditation was also the day it lost its Board of Trustees. Those democratically elected by San Francisco voters to lead City College were pushed aside by California Community College Chancellor Brice Harris.

It was a state takeover, and the board was rendered powerless.

The seven-member board holds no more meetings, drafts no more legislation, casts no more votes. The public cannot hold elected officials accountable when things go wrong -- because the man in charge is no longer someone San Francisco elected. Read more »

City and teachers seek injunction against City College closure

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The plan to save City College of San Francisco took a proactive turn yesterday (Mon/25) as two separate-but-similar preliminary injunctions were being sought against the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Read more »