Cover Story

Buying power

How PG&E and Mercury Insurance are spending millions to try to trick Californians into voting for corporate interests

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news@sfbg.com

California voters are about to be bombarded by more than $50 million in political advertising designed to convince them to approve a pair of measures desperately sought by two powerful corporations with a long history of lies and political corruption.

Will this brazen and transparently self-serving effort work? And what does it say about the state of modern politics — particularly California's money-driven initiative system — that these deceptive campaigns just might convince voters to cast ballots against their own interests?Read more »

SOC it to 'em

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ISSUE: Will the city's Sunshine Ordinance finally get some much-needed teeth?

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sarah@sfbg.com

On the same evening the Police Commission shot down Chief George Gascón's plan to arm his officers with Tasers, a Sunshine Ordinance Task Force (SOTF) committee reviewed a proposal to give itself a set of enforcement tools that, if approved, could help nail governmental agencies and officials that violate public information laws.Read more »

The battle for the forgotten district

The future of San Francisco will be written in District 10. Who's ready to be the next supervisor?

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sarah@sfbg.com

This November, when voters in District 10 — the largest, sunniest, and most diverse of the city's 11 supervisorial districts — replace termed out Sup. Sophie Maxwell, they'll be making a selection that could have pivotal implications for the entire city.

That's because the next supervisor from southeast San Francisco inherits a district that is home to some of the city's biggest environmental and public health challenges, as well as the most potential for development that will determine what kind of city San Francisco becomes.Read more »

Approximately infinite, still

Yoko Ono peers through holes, reaches back to a plastic past

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'80s babies

J Stalin's Prenuptial Agreement soundtracks the first generation born during the crack epidemic

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arts@sfbg.com

I'm from the city of gangstas and broken dreams / where we hopin' the Lord hear our silent screams / but this dope money helpin' my self-esteem — J Stalin, "Self-Destruction"

 Read more »

Valentine's Day events

G-SPOT: Parties, benefits, events, music, film, and performance to grab your heart

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PARTIES, EVENTS, AND BENEFITS

"Eat Your Heart Out" Supperclub, 657 Harrison; www.supperclub.com. Sun/14, 11am–3pm, $25–$150. All ages are welcome at this Valentine's Day brunch benefiting the Black Rock Arts Foundation and featuring art, music, and performances.Read more »

Marijuana goes mainstream

Take a tour of the Bay Area's best cannabis clubs, which are proving that prohibition is the problem, not pot

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I've smoked marijuana on and off for most of my adult life, usually in the evening to help let go of the anxieties associated with being a progressive wage slave in an increasingly conservative capitalist country.

Buying my pot, which is California's biggest cash crop, has always been a criminal transaction: in hushed tones or coded language, I arrange to meet a dealer I've been set up with through friends. And when I meet him (they've always been men), I give him cash in exchange for an eighth- or quarter-ounce of whatever kind of pot he's selling.Read more »

Hard Times Handbook

Our guide to living better, for less, in the recession

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It's tough out there. The recession is supposed to be over, although you'd never know it to walk the streets of San Francisco. But we're here to help; our Hard Times Handbook offers tips on bargains, deals, and discounts to make those fewer dollars go further.

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Broke doesn't mean bored

Eight great ways to have fun in San Francisco for $5 or less

By Johnny FuncheapRead more »

The year in film

Was 2009 the year movie theaters died?

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YEAR IN FILM More than $10 billion in movie tickets were sold in 2009 — a new all-time high in a year stuffed with so many all-time lows, cinematic and otherwise. Many of those tickets, I'm afraid, provided entry to the garish, ghoulish Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, far and away the year's top-grossing release, though the top 10 did include at least one movie I can recommend (Star Trek) without feeling like a sellout. Nestled at No. Read more »

Eleventh-hour shopping

The Guardian's last-minute gift guide

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Some years, you've got it all together. You finished your holiday shopping by Thanksgiving, decorated your tree before most people got around to buying one, and finished the prep for your Christmas Eve dinner a full 12 hours before you needed to start cooking. But this is not that year. Whatever the reason — extra-long hours at work (or perhaps extra-tall glasses of nog) — the holidays seem to have crept up on you this season. Now you're only days away from the big gift-exchange bonanza and you have yet to acquire anything to give. Don't fret! Read more »