Editorial

Newsom, it's time to end the Sunshine wars

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EDITORIAL For months now, Mayor Gavin Newsom's press office has been fighting with Sup. Chris Daly over a series of internal memos that Daly claims ought to be public record. The memos involve the mayor's position on tenant legislation that would make some kinds of evictions more difficult.
Daly had to take the case to the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, which held a hearing and deliberated for more than an hour before finding the Mayor's Office in violation of the law. Read more »

The judge misses the point

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EDITORIAL The federal judge who allowed the largest media merger in Northern California history to go forward unimpeded did what far too many judges do in cases like this: she ruled narrowly on the tightest definition of the law and missed the overall point entirely. Judge Susan Illston rejected a bid by San Francisco real estate investor Clint Reilly to block Denver billionaire Dean Singleton's effort to buy virtually every daily newspaper in the Bay Area and set up an unprecedented media monopoly. Read more »

Saving local industry

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EDITORIAL It's almost an axiom in San Francisco planning policy: High-end housing drives out industry. That's only logical: When people buy million-dollar condos, they don't expect to get woken up in the middle of the night by delivery trucks or deal with the smell of diesel fuel or look out their windows at barrels of chemicals. Read more »

No more dam discussion

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EDITORIAL The state Department of Water Resources released a long-awaited study July 19 concluding that restoring Hetch Hetchy Valley would cost at least $3 billion and possibly as much as $10 billion.
Let us put this in perspective.
The state of California is facing extreme pressure on its electrical grid because of record high heat. If this is an early sign of rapid and dramatic climate change (and that's a very possible scenario), then the problem is going to get worse before it gets better. Read more »

Don't move the mayoral elections

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The Board of Supervisors is slated to vote July 25th on a plan that’s attracted little press attention, but could have a profound impact on San Francisco politics. Sup. Jake McGoldrick has proposed a charter amendment that would move mayoral elections to coincide with presidential elections. The idea, McGoldrick says, is to increase turnout: In 2004, when John Kerry was running against George W. Bush, more than 70 percent of San Franciscans voted. Read more »

Don't move the mayoral elections

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The Board of Supervisors is slated to vote July 25th on a plan that’s attracted little press attention, but could have a profound impact on San Francisco politics. Sup. Jake McGoldrick has proposed a charter amendment that would move mayoral elections to coincide with presidential elections. The idea, McGoldrick says, is to increase turnout: In 2004, when John Kerry was running against George W. Bush, more than 70 percent of San Franciscans voted. Read more »

The case against the media grab

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EDITORIAL The last time real estate investor Clint Reilly took the local newspapers to court in 2000, the trial was a sensation. Read more »

Fair fees for rich developers

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EDITORIAL The information that emerged from the Board of Supervisors’ Land Use Committee on July 12 was mind-bending: According to a new city report, private developers will not even consider going forward with a big housing construction project unless the profit margin is at least 28 percent.
Think about it: Without a guaranteed profit about three or four times larger than what most normal businesses strive for, the developers won't pour an ounce of concrete. Read more »

Playing hardball in the Presidio

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EDITORIAL When Rep. Nancy Pelosi began peddling her plan to privatize the Presidio back in the 1990s her chief weapon was fear: If the Democrats didn't cut a deal to let the private sector control the fate of the new national park, she argued, the Republicans who ran Congress would simply sell off the land. Then there would be no park at all.
That was a highly unlikely scenario — there was a Democrat named Bill Clinton in the White House, and it's hard to imagine him going along with the GOP on the sale of 1,491 acres of parkland in San Francisco (part of his loyal California base). Read more »

Put Oak to Ninth on hold

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EDITORIAL The Oakland City Council is moving toward final approval of a plan to build 3,100 housing units along the Oakland Estuary near Lake Merritt, and while the project sponsors have come a long way toward offering community benefits, there's a big hitch: The entire project was devised backward. Read more »