Apathy and the arboretum

The very idea that visitors would have to pay to enter a public park appeared absurd. Astonishingly, only three supervisors voted against the ordinance imposing a fee on entrance to the arboretum.

OPINION Nobody believed it could happen, that the ordinance might pass. On the face of it, it seemed inconceivable. The very idea that visitors would have to pay to enter a public park appeared absurd, and had been rejected only the year before. Some believed the hype and were convinced that this would help solve the budget deficit. Others expected someone besides themselves would take action, or believed that that the $7 fee, once imposed, would apply only to nonresidents.Read more »

Behind Whitman's attack on nurses

Whitman's pledge to spend up to $180 million out of her billionaire pocket by November to drown out all competition was accompanied by other disturbing trends


OPINION Meg Whitman's increasingly high-profile war with California's nurses poses important questions about a potential Whitman term as governor and the implications for California.

California's nurses began pressing Whitman during the primary, when she was spending up to $21,000 an hour — more than many California families earn in a year — in a frenzy well on its way to smashing all previous campaign finance records.Read more »

Ideas that work: a plan for a new San Francisco

With its own public bank, San Francisco could begin to fund and promote more community-centered forms of economic development

OPINION San Francisco is a city of tremendous riches and problems — a locus of wealth, inequality, innovation, creativity, and sometimes stifling resistance by political and economic power brokers. It's time to break through. We have the ability, and opportunity, to create a whole new set of economic, social, and political relationships between people and government. On everything from municipal banking, to Muni reform, to public-controlled sustainable energy production and community-driven budgeting, we have a flood of ideas from thinkers and activists across the city. Read more »

Reinventing San Francisco

We need to make sure development isn't just code for finding new ways to gentrify neighborhoods and displace existing residents


By Christopher D. Cook, Karl Beitel, and Calvin Welch. 

OPINION It's hard to trust hope these days — to imagine that our world, or even our city — could be different. But for the next 10 or 15 minutes, as you read this, we invite you to suspend the cynicism and disbelief that hang over contemporary life, and allow your mind to imagine that, yes, a different San Francisco is possible. Just for 15 minutes, although we hope this helps kick-start a much longer-term revival of hope and urban reimagining.Read more »

Why is Pelosi killing ENDA?

In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay, or bisexual


OPINION Why is the Congressmember from the gayest city in America blocking legislation that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers from workplace discrimination? That's the question LGBT workers across the country are asking, and why LGBT workers picketed her office in the Federal Building and delivered a letter demanding that she not kill the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).Read more »

Repairing the initiative process - in CA and SF

If initiative and referendum in California and San Francisco is designed correctly, it has the potential to reinvigorate this age-old invention of representative government


OPINION I recently participated in a research trip to Switzerland to study the alpine nation's system of direct democracy (initiative and referendum, or I&R). Its model offers fresh ideas about how to repair the dysfunctional initiative process in California and San Francisco. Read more »

Get rid of the water bond, now

We shouldn't let the bond's cheery name fool us — Prop. 18 is a con job


OPINION A Field Poll released last week showed decent support among progressives for Proposition 18, the $11 billion water bond on the November ballot. We shouldn't let the bond's cheery name fool us. Prop. 18 is a con job.Read more »

A new New Deal for San Francisco

San Francisco is no longer the employment center of the Bay Area, but the high-end bedroom of a commuting workforce based outside the city


OPINION On Thursday and Friday, July 8 and 9, San Franciscans concerned about the future of their city will have a unique opportunity to devise practical, locally actionable proposals to shape and direct future policy affecting the local economy and the provision of critical human services.Read more »

Fiscal solidarity

Fiscal solidarity means we recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all

OPINION As Mayor Gavin Newsom prepares to skip town for the bleak limelight of Sacramento, he has left a resounding parting shot with massive budget cuts to those San Franciscans most in need of public aid: seniors, youth, homeless people, folks with mental illnesses, health clinic patients ... the list goes on.

Newsom has balanced his final budget (and his campaign for lieutenant governor) largely on the backs of the poor, working-class, multiracial, and immigrant San Franciscans, as well as the nonprofits and city workers who deliver vital services. Read more »

In defense of Bay to Breakers

For 99 years, Bay to Breakers has been lifting the city's spirits, bringing fun, tax revenue, and millions of tourism dollars to San Francisco


By Conor Johnston

OPINION An op-ed piece in the June 9 issue of Guardian ("When the rich can sit on the sidewalks") was the latest in a rash of negative media stories about Bay to Breakers. I am not going to respond to that article specifically, except to thank the Guardian for giving us equal time.Read more »