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The threat to San Francisco bookstores goes beyond Amazon and ebooks to rising rents and demand for commercial space

This Week's Paper

coverWide Angle Lens: During turmultuous conflict, the SF Jewish Film Fesitval shows multiple perspectives. Plus: Central American child refugees flood SF, GRMLN, head of Sunday Streets steps down and more. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

A skate day for creative community

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At last, a weekend with weather resembling an actual summer vacation. With Saturday's moderate temperature, a soothing breeze, and clear skies I was in a great mood to head to Tha Hood Games at the African American Art and Culture Complex (AAACC) on July 23 (click here to see our event preview). The vast majority of my experience with skateboarding has been watching the X Games religiously every year, so you could say that the bar was set high for day’s skating.

I didn't have a problem finding the Western Addition venue; all I had to do was follow the heart-pounding, bass-pumping beats coming from the event's speakers. Mistakingly anticipating a small crowd as I rounded the corner of Buchanan Street, it turned out the party had already started. A crowd stretched out in front of the AAACC for a lock down Fulton Street: skaters, parents, fans, everyone excited to check out the fun that was visible through the parking lot fence. Read more »

The BART cover-up crumbles

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Zusha Elinson at the Bay Citizen continues to do great work on the BART Police shooting, and today he's got a scoop: The audio of the incident gave him the names of the officers involved. OF course, BART can't confirm or deny anything, as is typical -- but the fact that we now know that the shooter was James A. Crowell, who had been on the force for just 18 months, gives some further insight into what happened. Read more »

Will Esbernd support Lee?

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As the tom toms grew louder at the Chronicle and in the Willie Brown/Rose Pak community for Interim Mayor Ed Lee to run for the full term as mayor, I emailed two impertinent questions to my district supervisor Sean Elsbernd:

1. Would you have nominated Ed Lee for interim mayor had you known he would consider running for the job?

2. Will you endorse him if he does decide to run for mayor?Read more »

Week of action for detained hikers

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Family, friends, and supporters of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, the Berkeley graduates who have been detained in an Iranian prison for nearly two years, are organizing a week of action leading up to the men's July 31 trial date. Read more »

Harding's family speaks out

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On July 25, the family of Kenneth Wade Harding, Jr. -- the 19-year-old who was killed in the Bayview by a gunshot wound after he ran from being detained for MUNI fare evasion by San Francisco police -- attended a press conference in Oakland at the law offices of John Burris. Read more »

Appetite: Jasper’s menu brightens up the Corner Tap

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All photos by Virginia Miller

You heard it here a couple weeks ago: Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen is going to be a drink destination, no doubt about it. Pair its all-star bartender line-up and impeccable cocktail menu with 18 beers on draft (like Telegraph Reserve Wheat from Santa Barbara), a fine wine list with playful categories like “Flower Power” and “We’ve Got the Funk”, satisfying bar food, (eventually) open-all-day hours – and plunk the whole thing down next to Union Square, a perfect tavern space for your downtown rendevous? The set-up is already screaming hit.

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What will the judges do?

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Presiding judge Katherine Feinstein is being forced to cut radically the Superior Court staff in the wake of more state budget cuts. It's a serious problem -- among other things, the cuts will allow landlords to evict tenants on a fast track, but won't allow tenants to sue landlords on the same timeline. Read more »

Sk8 or die! "Tessa & Scott:" a sartorial appreciation

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Taken as a sports glory confessional, Tessa & Scott: Our Journey from Childhood Dream to Gold (Anansi, 192 pages, $19.95) is pretty standard. It has more than its fair share of inspirational sound bites (“The young couple faced difficult challenges, but they were sustained by their love for skating and the knowledge that they could be champions.”). It’s also packed with glossy photographs and mildly amusing anecdotes. Yet, taken as a study in the evolution of dancing facial expressions, body chemistry, and ice dancing fashion choices, the book becomes exponentially more interesting. 

In terms of facial features, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir (Canada's 2010 Olympic ice-dancing champs, among their many accolades) were born to dance to together. They’ve got the distinctive “Are we siblings or are we lovers?” look that’s become a prerequisite for the sport. The fuzzier the line, the better. Ambiguous sexual preference is suggested, but not mandatory. Both Scott and Tessa have creamy skin and thick – slightly wavy – chocolate brown hair. It’s versatile enough to be tightly wound back, gelled, and hair-sprayed into oblivion, pre-show. Yet, they can also rock the slightly mussed-up, sweaty, post-dance routine look. Tessa is a huge fan of ponytails, though her go-to look for the ice is an intricate top bun. She’s got a strict anti-bangs policy. Scott has a fantastic variety of smiles (including a grimace that strikes a fine balance between warm and fierce), though he’s lacking a bit in the upper-lip department.

Read more »

Ed Lee is going to run

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We might as well get used to it: Mayor Ed Lee is going to run in November.

It's not just about getting his old job back. It's about the fact that he's starting to really like being mayor -- and that his closest allies have made it clear to him that the choice is either him or State Sen. Leland Yee, and that they find Yee unacceptable.Read more »

Live Shots: Emily Wells and the Blank Tapes, Cafe du Nord, 7/24/11

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No one seemed to mind that it was a Sunday night and that we were probably all going to be up far past our bedtime on a work night. That's because it's worth staying up late to hear some darn good music, truly starting the week off right. Emily Wells and The Blank Tapes were at Cafe du Nord and they kept the tunes coming late into the evening.

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Will Kopp's competitive bidding initiative derail Recology’s train to Yuba?

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Sponsors of an initiative to require competitive bidding on all aspects of the city's multi-million-dollar garbage services say they plan to deliver their initiative petitions to the Department of Elections this afternoon. The petitions contain 12,000 signatures, far more than the 7,000-8,000 required, effectively signalling that, even after the city weeds out non-valid signatures, the initiative will qualify for the June 2012 election.

The move threatens to give the Board a political migraine, since the Board is set to vote July 26 on a Department of Environment resolution to expand Recology (formerly Norcal Waste System, Inc)’s monopoly on San Francisco's garbage and recycling services.

In fact, the DoE resolution contains two separate agreements: a $112 million long-term landfill disposal agreement that was competitively bid, and a facilitation agreement that governs how waste is transported to the landfill and that was not competitively bid. As such, the city's facilitation agreement is already the subject of a lawsuit that Waste Management Inc. filed in San Francisco Superior Court last week.

Sponsors of the competitive bidding ordinance, which include retired judge Quentin Kopp, community activist Tony Kelly and Waste Solutions CEO David Gavrich,believe the Board should delay voting on the landfill disposal and facilititation agreements until next summer, after voters have had a chance to weigh in on the bigger question of whether folks want competitive bidding on all the city's garbage-related services, which are worth a quarter of a billion, each year. "

"It would be disrespectful to voters to accept a resolution while an initiative is pending," Kopp stated. Read more »

Mayoral candidates scurry for signatures

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San Francisco mayoral candidates and their volunteers have been scrambling to gather the signatures of registered voters needed to reduce their filing fees and demonstrate popular support, over the weekend hitting popular gathering spots such as Dolores Park with a combination of earnest appeals and election-year gimmicks.Read more »

The Performant: Super Freaks

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Thunderbird Theatre and Foul Play serve it up weird
 
Like swallows returning to Capistrano, there are certain annual events you can count on to lift the spirits and brighten an otherwise soggy outlook. One such anticipated delight is Thunderbird Theatre’s yearly production of an ensemble-created original comedy. Mavens of the shameless spoof, the fabulous T-birds have sent-up pulp detective fiction, lucha libre wrestling, pirate intrigues, Citizen Kane, Conan the Barbarian, vampire romance, and creepy office politics in variously hysterical ways, and a summer pilgrimage to their shows is always effort well-rewarded.

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How to avoid smart meters

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PG&E's smart meters are coming to my Bernal Heights street -- and I don't want one. I'm not really that worried about getting zapped by radiation from the radio transmitter -- the whole house is abuzz in wifi anyway. But it seems as if everyplace that the new meters have been installed, people are unhappy; bills go up at random, complaints aren't answered etc. And honestly, I'm not sure I want PG&E to have such detailed information about my electricity use. Bottom line: I don't trust PG&E. Read more »

Burning Man tickets sell out for the first time

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For the first time in the event's 25-year history, tickets to Burning Man have sold out. With more than a month left to go before the gates to Black Rock City open at midnight on Aug. 28, burners have already started a mad scramble for spare tickets through various message boards and online networks.Read more »