Politics Blog

Guardianistas hit the high notes on our latest edition of Alternative Ink

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Last night’s Alternative Ink, the biweekly show that we at the Bay Guardian do on BFF.fm, may have been our best show yet. In addition to featuring great music exclusively by queer artists, we covered a lot of editorial ground, from chain stores and the Guardian’s impending move into the Westfied Mall to new developments on Google buses and Sunday meters to teacher tenure, Pride, and PG&E’s scary pipelines (when our audio mysteriously cut out for little while ... hmm)  to whistleblowers and World Cup mania. So give it a listen here.  

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City Attorney throws a monkey wrench into parking-space auction app

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An iPhone app that lets users auction off their parking spots might sound like a novel idea, especially in a parking-deprived city like San Francisco. Unfortunately for Paolo Dobrowolny, co-founder and CEO of the MonkeyParking app that does exactly that, the practice is also illegal.Read more »

Business tax breaks in SF jumped to nearly $17 million last year

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Employers in San Francisco received nearly $17 million in special business tax breaks from the city last year, with the biggest ticket corporate welfare categories being the Central Market Street and Tenderloin Area Exclusion — commonly known as the Twitter tax break after its catalyst and biggest beneficiary — and a tax break given to small businesses.Read more »

SF arts funding prioritizes symphony, other stuff white people like

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Disadvantaged artists might be getting the short end of the paintbrush in favor of the city’s more affluent art community in Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed 2014-16 city budget.

That’s what a seemingly endless line of advocates expressed in a hearing in front of the San Francisco Budget and Finance Committee Friday [6/20] when given the opportunity to suggest ways to better apportion funding in the budget. According to a recent report from the Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Office, the dissenters might be onto something.Read more »

Sufi community to protest designer of outrageously horrible 80s pants

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As if designer Roberto Cavalli hadn't committed enough fashion atrocities, now he's pissed off an entire religious community.

Tomorrow a gathering of Sufi students will protest the Just Cavalli line at Union Square, alleging the famous fashion designer used a sacred religious symbol in his clothing and perfume product lines.Read more »

Jury finds Recology cheated in waste diversion bonus program

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A jury has determined that Recology, San Francisco’s garbage collection contractor, was not honest with the city when it collected a bonus payment of $1.36 million for successfully diverting waste from the landfill.

Brought by a former employee, the lawsuit claims that Recology misrepresented the amount of diverted waste in order to qualify for the bonus money. This is especially significant because San Francisco is recognized nationwide as a leader in its quest to send zero waste to the landfill as an environmental goal.Read more »

Is the SF District Attorney’s Office biased against cyclists?

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There’s been much discussion over the last year about whether police and prosecutors in San Francisco are biased against bicyclists. And while the San Francisco Police Department has admitted problems in their investigations of collisions that injure cyclists and pledged to do better (with mixed results), the District Attorney’s Office doesn’t seem have gotten the message. Read more »

Boom asks "What's the matter with San Francisco?" and offers insightful answers

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“What’s the matter with San Francisco?” asks the Summer 2014 issue of the Boom: A Journal of California, a quarterly magazine produced by the University of California Press, tapping an amazing array of writers to explore the struggle for the soul of San Francisco that has captured such widespread media attention in the last year.Read more »

As Ellis Act reform bill faced death, where was Ron Conway?

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One week and one day -- that's how long Sen. Mark Leno has to push his Ellis Act reform bill through two committees in order for it to go before to the assembly floor, making its prospects for passage this year look dim.

The push would have been easier if it hadn't lost yesterday's vote, 3-4, in the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development. Now the bill's passage is a herculean task that even Leno admits is a tough slog. 

"I'd say it's challenging," Leno told us yesterday. San Franciscans have been displaced by real estate speculators, a dozen or more of whom are regularly "flipping" homes for profit and using the Ellis Act to clean out longtime renters. If passed, the bill would restrict the use of the Ellis Act to those who've owned their homes for five years or longer, allowing property owners to eventually get out of the rental business, as supporters of the Ellis Act say it was intended for. 

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City agencies defend their slow response to Airbnb's illegal rentals

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More information has been coming out about how Airbnb is used to convert San Francisco apartments into tourist rentals — including an interesting study reported by the San Francisco Chronicle last weekend — in advance of next month’s hearings on legislation to legalize and regulate short-term rentals.

But questions remain about why the city agencies in charge of regulating such “tourist conversions,” which have long been illegal under city law, have done so little to crack down on the growing practice. For more than two years, we at the Guardian have been publicly highlighting such violations, which have finally caught fire with the public in the last six months. Read more »