By Steven T. Jones
It’s been a big year on this blog, as I discuss in this week’s paper. To go along with that story, I’m including in this post a ridiculous number of links to issues and stories that we covered the most in 2009, as well as some to one-time or limited coverage stories that we liked. We hope you find this useful.
The year began with the Board of Supervisors calling for a special election on revenue measures to prevent deep cuts to city government, but that effort was thwarted by Mayor Gavin Newsom’s preference for hollow fiscal gimmicks and opposition to general tax increases. Similarly, on the state level, Republican opposition to revenue side solutions has all but destroyed the California Dream -- including the state’s commitment to supporting quality, affordable higher education – prompting calls for a constitutional convention in the near future, as the political dysfunction leads to bad decisions about critical state resources.
Police oversight and crackdowns
The fatal shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer a year ago led to a long saga of promised civilian oversight that still hasn’t been delivered. In the meantime, San Francisco got a new police chief who promised reforms, but has so far delivered only crackdowns, pushing the city closer to the Death of Fun as popular events and nightclubs face an ever more restrictive enforcement environment. Police also failed to own up to a bungled murder investigation.
The face of San Francisco began to change in 2009, for better and worse. Lennar and PG&E continued to corrupt the local political system, compromise the promise of green power, break promises, and subvert popular will. But partially countering their corporate malevolence were grassroots efforts to reclaim the streets and promote alternative transportation options (despite a major defeat this year for those who want motorists to pay for more of their societal impacts), including the long-awaited construction of bicycle projects after a three-year ban.