Editorial

Tax money for PG&E? Why?

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San Franciscans at every level — from individual homeowners to neighborhood groups to public safety advocates and city officials — have been complaining for years about how slowly Pacific Gas and Electric Co. has been moving its overhead power lines underground. The case for undergrounding is clear and indisputable: buried wires are not only far more aesthetically pleasing, they're far safer, particularly during earthquakes, when wires hanging over streets can snap, start fires, cause electrocutions, and generally be a real menace.
But PG&E won't pay for the full cost of undergrounding. Read more »

The next police chief

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EDITORIAL Heather Fong is not a popular police chief these days. Nine of the 11 supervisors just rejected her proposal for staffing foot patrols and insisted on one of their own — with some of the supes openly saying they had no faith in her management of the department. Read more »

49ers aren't worth public money

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EDITORIAL The prospect of the San Francisco 49ers moving to Santa Clara — and taking with them any hope of a 2016 Olympic bid for San Francisco — caught the Newsom administration off guard and has much of City Hall scrambling to figure out a way to keep the fabled sports franchise in San Francisco. Read more »

The new sunshine "problem"

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EDITORIAL Matt Dorsey, who handles press for City Attorney Dennis Herrera, stopped by last week to talk to us about the barrage of public records requests that are coming in from one activist, Kimo Crossman, who is demanding so many records and so much information from so many departments that it's costing the city big money.
The problem, Dorsey says, is a lot of the records that people like Crossman request (particularly if they have metadata, or hidden computerized information, embedded in them) have to be reviewed by a lawyer before they're released to determine if any of the internal infor Read more »

Journalists need to fight back

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EDITORIAL At the annual awards dinner Nov. 9 of the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists, the mood was somber. One of the winners of the Journalist of the Year award, Josh Wolf, was behind bars for refusing to give unpublished material to the authorities. Read more »

The SFPD will not reform itself

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EDITORIAL Mayor Gavin Newsom, who has vetoed legislation requiring a few police officers to actually walk beats in high-crime neighborhoods, says he was proud of the San Francisco Police Department's action in the Castro on Halloween night. Proud? Some 800 cops were on hand, and yet someone managed to bring in a gun, shoot nine people — and get away. Read more »

City hall's new secrets

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EDITORIAL Back in 1999 reporter Scott Rosenberg dug up a juicy little scoop for Salon: he found out that part of Microsoft's annual report was written on an Apple computer. That caused the giant purveyor of Windows software (and Apple competitor) no small amount of embarrassment. And Rosenberg did this without any secret source or leaked records; he just looked at the metadata embedded in the files of public company documents.
Metadata is part of the new frontier of public-records law. It's the stuff you can't see that's hidden in digital versions of, say, Microsoft Word documents. Read more »

Winning in 2006 — and beyond

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EDITORIAL There are plenty of Democrats running for the House and Senate this fall who don't exactly qualify as liberals. Howard Dean, the (somewhat) grassroots-oriented, progressive party chair, has been largely aced out of a meaningful role in the fall campaigns, which are being run by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who have said repeatedly that they're willing to eschew a coherent program or ideology because what they want to do is win. In fact, there isn't much of a clear Democratic Party platform at all.
But in a way, that doesn't matter. The Nov. Read more »

Prosecute election theft

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EDITORIAL There's no doubt at all that a group of downtown businesses operating through a series of supposedly independent political committees organized in part by attorney Jim Sutton have used every tool at their disposal to influence the outcome of the District 6 supervisorial election. Read more »

PG&E's candidates

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EDITORIAL We've seen plenty of allies of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. We've seen a few PG&E bagmen, PG&E shills, and PG&E fronts. But there's never been anyone elected to the board in our 40 years who was actually a paid attorney for PG&E.
This year there's at least one and possibly two candidates who have worked as PG&E lawyers — and that alone should disqualify them ever from holding public office in San Francisco. The most obvious and direct conflict involves Doug Chan, the former police commissioner who is seeking a seat from District 4. Read more »