Politics Blog

In SF and Oakland, activists block tech buses to protest displacement

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Between 70 and 100 protesters gathered at 24th and Valencia streets this morning (Fri/20) for yet another blockade of a private tech shuttle, this time to protest evictions in the city of San Francisco.

The activists, who were from Eviction Free San Francisco, Our Mission No Eviction, Causa Justa / Just Cause and others, stood in front of a white shuttle bus holding banners and signs. Some peeked through cardboard signs fashioned in the shape of place markers on Google maps, with “Evicted” written across the front.Read more »

A century after the Raker Act, San Franciscans are still illegally denied public power

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The San Francisco Examiner has a good story on today’s 100th anniversary of the signing of the Raker Act, federal legislation that allowed San Francisco to build a dam in Hetch Hetchy Valley, a campaign championed most fervently at the time by the Examiner’s then-Publisher William Randolph Hearst.Read more »

Mayor Lee addresses Google bus controversy

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At a press conference on affordable housing today, the Guardian asked Mayor Ed Lee about San Francisco’s favorite pinata: tech buses. The monstrous private shuttles, which daily whisk tech workers away to Silicon Valley, currently use Muni bus stops without paying fines, like most private autos do. 

In Guardian News Editor Rebecca Bowe’s article in the print edition of the Bay Guardian this week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson Paul Rose tells her that although there is a proposal in the works to regulate them, the SFMTA won’t profit a single dime from the plan. 

“We are developing these policies to better utilize the boarding zones for these shuttle providers," Rose said. "What we're trying to do is provide a more efficient transportation network."

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Tech sets out to help the homeless

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Google “tech,” “San Francisco,” and “homeless” right now, and you will undoubtedly find the tale of Greg Gopman, former CEO of AngelHack, whose notorious Facebook comments comparing homeless people to “hyenas,” among other things, earned him a viral dose of public shaming delivered via Twitter and the blogosphere.Read more »

Mayor Lee orders affordable housing push

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Mayor Ed Lee stood on the rooftop terrace between high brick walls of the soon-to-be-built Natoma Family Apartments, and in the distance, the buzz and clanks of nearby construction echoed his message of the day: Build, baby, build. 

Today (Wed/18) the mayor announced an executive directive for all San Francisco government departments with a hand in housing development to prioritize construction of affordable units, from completely below market rate (BMR) projects to those that have a mix of BMR and market rate units. 

The Department of Building Inspection, Mayor’s Office of Housing, Planning Department and others involved with approving development will all reorient their priorities towards getting new affordable housing built -- a stark indicator of just how potent this issue has become after months of high-profile evictions and progressive organizing and demonstrations.

“It isn’t always on the private sector, we’ve got to have a stake in the action as well,” Lee told reporters gathered at the Natoma apartment building. 

“(San Francisco) is expensive,” he said, “but we don’t have to accept it. We can do something.”

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National Park Service asks Presidio Trust to hit the breaks on museum proposals

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The battle over the cultural fate of the otherwise outdoors-oriented Presidio could hit the pause button once again after a high-level letter sent to the Presidio Trust recommended the governing board put a hold on the already slow-moving selection process for a new museum to replace the Sports Basement.Read more »

Plans for SF clean energy program still underway, despite political opposition

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San Francisco’s longstanding effort to develop a municipal renewable energy program has been stymied by politics, but Sup. London Breed has taken up the cause of advancing aspects of the plan that haven't been obstructed.

At a Dec. 13 meeting of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCo), a committee comprised of members of the Board of Supervisors that has been working to develop CleanPowerSF for years, Breed called for putting out a Request for Proposals to develop a concrete plan for building out local renewable energy infrastructure. LAFCo adopted the motion. Read more »

SF Board of Supervisors approves new tenant protections

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The Board of Supervisors today (Tues/17) gave unanimous final approval to legislation aimed at giving renters in the city additional protections against being displaced by real estate speculators, and initial approval to legislation protecting tenants from harassment by landlords, both part of a wave of reforms moving through City Hall to address rising populist concerns about gentrification and evictions.Read more »

Homeless hater Greg Gopman was a jerk at the office, too

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Former AngelHack CEO Greg Gopman not only fanned the flames of San Franciscan tech resentment by calling the homeless “degenerates” and “trash” on Facebook, but it seems people in his own company didn’t like him much, either. 

Apparently the small staff of AngelHack rebelled against Gopman’s management style, leading to a power swap in October, said new AngelHack CEO Sabeen Ali. It all started when she took a vacation.Read more »

Bus riding tech workers respond to national spotlight on evictions

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Evictions are rippling through San Francisco. Tensions are high. Tech workers with gobs of cash are driving up the rental market in what may be the newest tech bubble -- or the city’s new reality. Protesters took to the street earlier this week, blocking a Google bus to draw attention to gentrification, and our video of a union organizer posing as a Google employee shouting down those protesters lit up the InternetRead more »