None of the candidates for public office this year can beat the performance of a 2004 supervisorial hopeful who showed up at the Guardian office for an endorsement interview with a completely spaced-out homeless friend in tow. The candidate was talking rapid-fire for an hour, shifting effortlessly back and forth from his history as a welfare recipient turned bartender turned subject of a drug bust turned successful businessperson to his suggestions for public policy and proposals for improving the neighborhood. Read more »
I was six when they assassinated John F. Kennedy. It was warm and sunny in Dallas, but I remember the cold and snow in Rochester, NY. We were visiting my grandparents; I was walking with my mother to the grocery store when a guy driving by shouted the news out of his car window: "Did ya hear about the president? He was just shot." We turned around and raced back to listen to the radio.
For the next few hours, the grown-ups in the big, roomy apartment were distracted, sort of shell-shocked. Read more »
There are people at the daily newspapers around here who bristle when I accuse them of ignoring important local stories, particularly ones involving powerful political, business, or social figures (and most particularly, involving the newspapers themselves). No representative of the Hearst Corp. stands in the newsroom door announcing that stories about management will be sent to New York for prior censorship. Nobody tells the Chronicle's reporters that they can't cover a pressing story.
And I believe all that. I really do. Read more »
I was out of town when Sue Bierman died Aug. 6, her car crashing into a Dumpster near her Haight Ashbury home, in the neighborhood she loved. I was out of cell phone range and had no real Internet access, and the papers in Upstate New York didn't carry the story. So I didn't learn until I got home that San Francisco had lost one of its most vibrant, funny, warm, and passionate political voices.
Bierman, a native of Fremont, Neb., arrived in San Francisco in 1950. Read more »
There's an intriguing confluence of anniversaries coming up that together offer an opportunity for societal awakening.
This week I'll be among thousands of Bay Area residents leaving for Burning Man and the 20th birthday of the most significant countercultural event of our times. Five years ago, right after my first Burning Man, the Sept. 11 attacks ushered in radical changes to US foreign policy and political dialogue. Read more »
Bad social failures eventually come back to haunt you. That's what's happening in the California prison system, where decades of lock-’em-up legislation, stupid drug laws, and governors who are terrified of the political consequences of paroling inmates have filled the jails with aging prisoners who require extensive medical care. Tens of thousands of people will die in state prisons in the next few years, not of murder or abuse but because they're serving life sentences — and it's going to cost a fortune to take care of them in their declining years. Read more »
I had lunch with a friend near South Park the other day, and we got to chatting about the condo boom in the area — building after building after ugly high rise after boxy dorm. This stuff doesn't look like luxury housing; it looks like modern urban junk.
Anyway, my friend is a smart, thoughtful person, and her first instinct was to say that more downtown housing is a good thing. Me, I get a headache whenever I try to be thoughtful about San Francisco housing policy these days, so I wasn't thoughtful at all. I hate it all, I told her.
She asked why and I answered honestly. Read more »
I started down Valencia Street around 8:30 last Thursday morning, trying to get to Mission and Embarcadero for a 9 a.m. radio show, and I caught up with two other bicyclists at a red light around 23rd Street. None of us said anything, but we rode more or less together for a couple more blocks, then picked up a few more riders here and a few more there, and by the time we hit Market Street, there were probably 15 of us, riding along in some sort of impromptu Critical Mass–style convoy. Read more »
It’s your Guardian. That’s the message we posted on the cover today, and I mean it: The new sfbg.com website is designed to be fully interactive. You can post your comments on every article, every review, every editorial. You can join in on five new blogs. In a few weeks, we’ll have a reader’s blog, just for you.
Newspaper publishing should never be a one-way communication. Read more »