Politics Blog

Leno introduces bill to bolster City College funding, draws fire to Special Trustee

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First City College of San Francisco’s accreditation was provisionally revoked, then students left in droves. Teachers soon started leaving too. Two interim chancellors were hired, then left. 

Through it all, many thought, “won’t someone cut the school a break?” Now someone significant is trying to.Read more »

A radical proposal: Squat Airbnb hosts' homes to create affordable housing

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When I interviewed attorney Joseph Tobener for the story in our current issue on Airbnb being used to take affordable housing units off of the apartment market, he had a interestingly radical idea for get the attention of this scofflaw company and its political supporters, striking a blow for housing justice in the process.

What if hundreds of people, including many who are now homeless, rented out apartments in San Francisco for a night or two and then simply refused to leave?Read more »

Advocates for higher minimum wage celebrate past success and look ahead

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Balloons, snacks, cake, live music, an open wine bar and nearly 100 guests marked a Thu/6 celebration at the Women’s Building in San Francisco's Mission district. You might never guess a party this fun would be held to celebrate the birthday of a city ordinance.

February marks the 10-year anniversary of San Francisco’s minimum wage ordinance, passed by voters in 2003 with Proposition L. The landmark initiative not only raised the minimum wage in San Francisco to $8.50 per hour, but stipulated that the amount would rise every year to reflect inflation. Thanks to Prop. L, San Francisco now boasts the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $10.74.

But being the nation's highest still isn’t enough.

“Who thinks living in San Francisco is really expensive?” asked one of the event organizers and staff member of the Chinese Progressive Association, Shaw San Liu. All hands in the room shot up before the Spanish and Mandarin translators even had a chance to repeat the question.

Raising the minimum wage in San Francisco has been a hot topic recently, and Mayor Ed Lee even endorsed a significant increase back in December. The number that keeps floating around is $15 per hour, but nothing has been set in stone. Read more »

Google ferry's last ride is today

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The Google-hired ferries skimming Bay Area waves are coming to the end of their pilot period, with their last scheduled rides running today, according to the Contra Costa Times.

Amidst the ire of San Francisco protesters fuming over Google buses, the company opted to experiment with alternatives to the buses: ferries. Two ferries from San Francisco and one from Alameda scooped up Google employees day by day for the month of January.Read more »

Uber neighborhood pricing surge charges Marina most

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Uber charges the Marina and Pacific Heights districts up to three times as much for a ride as the rest of the city in its new “neighborhood surge” program, according to leaked emails and screen captures. 

The surges happen during rush hour, weekend night bar crawls, and also around concerts and other events that would draw riders to Uber’s app. Read more »

San Francisco landlords targeted for elder abuse

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Lisa Gray-Garcia, aka “Tiny,” led a press conference outside the San Francisco Hall of Justice Feb. 5 to announce that she and fellow activists were filing elder abuse charges against San Francisco landlords.

Clad in a gray pantsuit and flanked by activists and senior citizens who were facing eviction or had lost housing in San Francisco, the Poor News Network founder condemned landlords who’ve invoked the Ellis Act as “dangerous criminals.”Read more »

Board of Education president calls out thousands of “invisible suspensions”

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K-12 student advocates have suspensions in their crosshairs.

At last night’s (Tue/4) Board of Education meeting, young students rallied against suspensions they see as unfair. Advocates negotiated rule changes. San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education commissioners shook their fists at injustice. Read more »

Richmond’s sugary beverage tax lost big, how's SF different?

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What’s old is new again, the saying goes.

And the saying definitely applies to the hotly followed sugary beverage tax resolution, introduced at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting. 

The two cents per-ounce tax on sugary beverages would be levied at the point of distribution, with the ultimate goal of reducing the consumption of sodas and other sugary drinks to combat obesity in San Francisco. The tax, sponsored by Supervisors Scott Wiener, Eric Mar, Malia Cohen John Avalos and David Chiu, is similar to a resolution made two years ago in Richmond, CA. Read more »

Marcus Books approaching landmark status as fundraising continues

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It may be a long shot, but there is still time.

Marcus Books, which faces eviction from its Fillmore Street location, seeks to raise $1 million to remain in Jimbo’s Bop City building, the violet-colored Victorian it has operated out of since 1981. If Marcus Books succeeds in its fundraising endeavor, the building will be turned over to the San Francisco Land Trust and the bookstore will remain as a tenant in perpetuity.Read more »

Presidio Trust decides on museum proposals

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The Presidio museum showdown has come to an end for now, and the winner of the hotly contested mid-Crissy Field site is (drum roll, please) ... no one.

Not the Golden Gate National National Park Conservancy. Not the Bridge Institute. And no, not Star Wars creator George Lucas.

At an impromptu press conference this afternoon, Presidio Trust Chair Nancy Hellman Bechtle said the board unanimously voted to not move forward with any of the museum proposals.Read more »