Green City

Our stuff, our planet

Author Annie Leonard's shines some cleansing light on the toxic effects of capitalism in The Story of Stuff


Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff (Free Press, 2010), sat in her office in Berkeley explaining why we must direct our energy toward making policy and reforming laws, not just individual green lifestyles, to avoid destroying the planet.Read more »

Trash talk

Environmental justice claims leveled in the fight for SF's big garbage disposal contract


The battle to win San Francisco's lucrative garbage disposal contract turned nasty as city officials tentatively recommended it go to Recology (formerly Norcal Waste Systems), causing its main competitor, Oakland-based Waste Management, to claim the selection process was flawed and bad for the environment.

Recology is proposing to dispose of San Francisco's nonrecyclable trash at its Ostrom Road landfill in Yuba County, which is double the distance of the city's current dump. The contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, would run until 2025.Read more »

Building better buses

AC Transit pushes hydrogen fuel cells as oil companies pull back

By Adam Lesser

GREEN CITY To hear Jaimie Levin talk is to understand that his cause is larger than just promoting alternative fuels for public transportation. "We either pay the tax ourselves or we pay the tax of sending money to the Middle East," he said as we walked through the noisy AC Transit bus yard in East Oakland. "There's a human cost of lives lost in a foreign war."Read more »

Street view

Young beggars on Haight Street discuss proposed sit-lie ordinance


By Skyler Swezy

The Haight-Ashbury is out-of-control, according to some recent news reports and testimony by cops and other backers of the proposed sit-lie ordinance. They report street toughs brazenly smoking crack, blocking sidewalks, spitting on babies, and intimidating citizens with pit bulls.Read more »

Shit show

What has the SFPUC has been dumping in city gardens?


By Brady Welch

GREEN CITY Food safety groups complain that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has until recently been dumping its crap in the backyards and gardens of any residents who unwittingly asked for it.

The city calls this crap "biosolids compost," and for Mayor Gavin Newsom and the SFPUC, it seemed like a green dream come true. But it turns out that putting processed human excrement into people's vegetable gardens might not be the elegant — if somewhat gross — reuse strategy it once seemed to be.Read more »

Thawing ICE

Recent events hurt Mayor Gavin Newsom's case for refusing to enforce sanctuary law


Top San Francisco officials are still refusing to implement legislation approved by the Board of Supervisors that requires due process to play out before immigrant youth accused of felonies are turned over to the federal government, despite recent developments that call into question arguments that have been made against that policy.Read more »

The Green Party's nadir

With its numbers down and its stars leaving, a progressive party contemplates its prospects


This should be a great time for the Green Party. Its namesake color is being cited by every corporation and politician who wants to get in good with the environmentally-minded public; voters in San Francisco are more independent than ever; and progressives have been increasingly losing the hope they placed on President Barack Obama. Read more »

Informing the public

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ISSUE: James Madison Freedom of Information Award winners fight the power


Information is power. But too often, those with political power guard public documents and information from the journalists, activists, lawyers, and others who seek it on the people's behalf. So every year, we at the Guardian honor those who fight for a freer and more open society by highlighting the annual winners of the James Madison Freedom of Information Awards, which are given by the Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

This year's winners are:

Beverly Kees Educator AwardRead more »

Waste of paper

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ISSUE: Ethics Commission system for routing out political corruption doesn't work, but it could easily be fixed


Several weeks ago, Sup. Chris Daly e-mailed the San Francisco Ethics Commission to ask what seemed like a simple question. Daly is spearheading a June citywide ballot measure to ask voters to support the designation of the new Transbay Transit Center as the end point for the planned California High Speed Rail project, a response to the California High Speed Rail Authority's move to explore alternative locations.Read more »

Taxi turbulence

SF's cab industry is about to change dramatically — but no one knows how an experiment in selling permits will actually turn out


By Skyler Swezy

It's 10:20 p.m. on a recent Saturday night. Cab driver Dorian Lavender picks up a middle-aged couple outside the Gold Club, a strip joint in SoMa.

The couple is sharply dressed for a night out. After requesting the Mitchell Brothers' O'Farrell Theatre as their destination, the man brags to Lavender about having had sex with a stripper in one of the club's private rooms. His female companion smiles and says nothing.

"This is before I met her," the man explains. "We're swingers."Read more »