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The SFPD and police departments across the country get free military equipment, but does it make us safer or provoke violence?

This Week's Paper

cover imageFall Arts preview: movies, concerts, festivals, theater, dance, nightlife, videogames, gallery shows, and more. Plus: hip-hop tricksters Souls of Mischief return, local police gifted military weapons, witness comes forward in Alex Nieto shooting. Articles Online | Digital Edition

From the Blogs

Live Review: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion detonates at Bimbo's, 9/29/10

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Walking up to Bimbo’s and seeing “Jon Spencer Blues Explosion” sprawled across the marquee in big, bold font, I kept thinking how crazy it was that the group hadn’t performed in SF in over eight years. Though just coming off a five-year hiatus, JSBX has been spewing their sweaty mix of punk, blues, and good old-fashioned rock and roll for nearly two decades. With all three members of the New York trio well on their way into middle age, last Wednesday (9/29/10) was a reminder that these guys were doing their thing long before groups like the White Stripes or the Black Keys were even blips on the radar. And beyond that, it proved they haven’t lost a single step. Read more »

ENDORSEMENTS 2010

Walker, Mandelman, and Kelly for supervisor. No, no, no on B. Yes, yes, yes on 19. Our complete endorsements for San Francisco, state, and national races

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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 »

Getting out the in-jail vote

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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 »

Opinion: For Democratic unity

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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.

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The family Yañez and their evolving altars

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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 »

Quick Lit: Oct. 6-Oct. 12

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Literary readings, book tours, and talks this week

Litquake 2010 goes out with a bang featuring novelists, scientists, poets, comedians, sexy storytellers, and more, culminating in this year’s not-to-be-missed Lit Crawl.

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The D6 Ranked Choice debacle

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I must admit, I was pretty astonished when I read that Jane Kim had endorsed two other candidates in District 6, and Debra Walker wasn't among them.Read more »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Lydia, Fillmore and Jackson

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The strangest election ever

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It's getting really wierd out there. There's a campaign video featuring the white face of a dark-haired politician emerging from an all-black background and proclaiming:

"I am not a witch."

And she's a serious (more or less) candidate for the United States Senate. Check out the strangest campaign ad of the year after the jump.<--break->Read more »

Hotel plan revives old question: Can the Presidio Trust be trusted?

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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 »

Ebony Hillbillies string along Hardly Strictly's biggest year yet

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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 »

SFBG Radio: Is the Republican Party a cult?

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In today's epidsode, Johnny and Tim talk about the showdown in Fresno, the Dream Act -- and whether the Republican Party has become a cult. Listen after the jump. Read more »

Appetite: Dinner and cocktails with a view

Gazing deliciously upon the city at Luce and Top of the Mark

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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 »

Street Threads: Look of the Day

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Today's Look: Lisa and Evan, Washington and Fillmore

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Hotel Frank fires key union organizer

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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 »